Well, Chicago hound just returns from long NYC weekend...dined at the following 3 places among others...here's my report:
1) La Tavernetta...just great place. Nice nexus of reasonably classy and linoleum. Very serious owner / chef from Italy and his wife run the place. Everything was good to great: 1) Ricotta ravioli's just great as was the eggplant parmesan for appetizers...sauces have that "depth of flavor" that identifies a place as gourmet level cooking. For entree we split a sauteed shrimp pasta dish that was solidly good....I'm not crazy about seafood and pasta to begin with and really liked this, a good sign. Desserts: Italian cheesecake...while very high quality, it's not highly flavorful...a must to order with an accompanying' chocolate dessert and/or cappucino. The lemon pie as awesome...rind, concentrate...very lemony with nice crust. Also priced very reasonably. At this point it's on my growing list of Queen's top 10 restaurants.
2) Mavi...Sunnyside. Very good turkish. For Appetizers had the Ezme which was solid, not the best I've had and a calamari w/ nice sauce, again solid but not necessarily the best ever had. Entre was mixed grill of lamb and chicken adanas and filets, and grilled meatballs. Very solid, again not necessarily best I've had but no complaints. Desserts was simple baklava and some very well-prepared Turkish coffee...
The Turkish wine also is reasonably priced by glass and matches well if not memorably with the food.
I'm still looking for "my favorite" Turkish restaurant in New York, any suggestions ???? Meanwhile Mavi is a very serviceable place if some friends are craving Turkish...
3) Baan Thai, Austin St., Forest Hills...Well the place is very pretty but the food is typical Ameri-Thai. I asked the waiter a couple of "giveaway" questions as to the authentic nature of the preparations: A) Do they FINELY CHOP the Pad Kra Pow (Basil Chicken) or serve it in large chunks. He was honest and said it was "chunk style" typical of Ameri-Thai places B) Is the Papaya Salad properly prepared (gave him the ingredients list) which he again honestly said was the American style...My dishes were typically the toned-down versions for what many thai restaurants think is more "acceptable" to the american palate.
What can I say.... if you want AUTHENTIC Thai food the only place I've found in Queens so far is Sriraphai, easily one of my Top 10 Queens restaurants. Baan Thai is pleasant and well located if you like Ameri-Thai.