I'm not going to apologize for calling Bangkok Garden (261 Main St, Hackensack, 201-487-2620) the best Thai restaurant in Northern NJ (or LI frankly). It's certainly the best one Jason or I have ever been to and we've been to quite a few (including Topaz in NYC, New Main Taste in Chatham, NJ, and Siam Palace in Port Washington, NY, which are all quite good, each in its own way).
We went there for the umpteenth time this past weekend (not counting all the times Jason and his friend Jon have gone for dinner without me). Jon was with us again, and we shared several appetizers, and Jason & Jon shared their oft ordered Beef Salad and a green chicken curry, while I had panang shrimp with significantly less spicy heat. Both of these were on the specials list served over thin spaghetti, I'd prefer to get them just as curries served with rice (which is always available).
The restaurant is pleasantly decorated with souveniers, travel posters, what seem like altars, and an arrangement of fruit and rice in the entry. The servers are friendly and competant, and the host is always welcoming.
I recommend the following appetizers:
Satay - the pork is our favorite, but beef & chicken are also available, served with perfect peanut sauce, toast points and cucumber salad
Egg Rolls - we like the filling better in these better than that in the spring rolls, but those are good too, with thinner wrappers
Curry Puffs - Jay & Jon really like these
All the soups are good too, I love the tom yong goon (sp?)
Beef Salad - Jay & Jon always share this and some kind of curry. I can tell it's tasty and tangy, but they always get it too hot for me to enjoy :<
Any Curry - We've had most of them, they are always good. I especially like the duck and the massamon.
Fish - soft shell crabs are usually on the specials list, prepared in a variety of ways, the whole fish dishes are great, available steamed or fried.
Poultry - an assortment of chicken dishes are available, and when I'm more in a chinese mood, they have a selection of quasi-Chinese dishes to choose from. But, I usually get some kind of duck dish. Except for the curries, the duck entrees aren't served with vegetables, so I get an order of Thai Spinach for the table. Also, try the Volcano Chicken if you like (A) to call attention to yourself (it arrives aflame) and (B)chili paste, which is the predominant flavor.
Vegetarian - lots of choices.
Also, (recalling the Thai thread which got into the subjects of Indians and Thai food) there were at least four tables with Indians at them, one a large family. And, a guy I work with who was born in India and raised here (lives in Montclair) also says Bangkok Garden is his favorite Thai place.
It was quite busy on Saturday night, but we didn't have to wait for a table (those arriving a little later did (we got there around 8, people were waiting at 9), and it's usually quiet during the week. We've never made reservations here.
Oh yeah, the pad thai is pretty good, too! But unlike so many other Thai restaurants there's much more to choose from here.