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Sripraphai 2007-present


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(This topic continues the old Sripraphai topic)

And isn't a Thai restaurant that serves bad pad Thai kind of like an Italian restaurant that serves bad pasta?

If you said all their noodle dishes were bad, maybe that would be so. But you're comparing one specific dish (pad thai) to an entire group of dishes (pasta). Isn't it more like a Sicilian restaurant that is forced to put tagliatele bolognese on the menu from customers who demand it, and it's not very good because it's not what they do?

I don't know what region Sripraphai is supposed to represent, but maybe it's not one that is known for awesome pad thai. Actually I don't think I've ever had pad thai anywhere that I've thought was very good. It seems like the thai equivalent to nondescript Chinese lo mein.

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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I don't think anybody is forcing Sripraphai to do anything of the sort. The weak pad Thai has been on the menu since the days when I could go there and be the only non-Asian in the room. And I'm not sure the regional logic applies -- the menu seems national in scope. But I take your point. It's a dish, not a category.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't know what region Sripraphai is supposed to represent, but maybe it's not one that is known for awesome pad thai.
It's not so much "region" as street food. The hot dog or pizza slice analogy is a good one.

And I can't figure out what region Sripraphai is from anyway. Everyone I've talked to who works there says they're from Bangkok, which doesn't really answer much, since it's the capital. The food seems most similar to the stuff I got in Chiang Mai, though.

Actually I don't think I've ever had pad thai anywhere that I've thought was very good. It seems like the thai equivalent to nondescript Chinese lo mein.

IMX, it can be good if executed well. Try the version at Holy Basil, on 2nd Avenue between 9th and 10th. Charlie Trotter's in Chicago serves a good one, too ;)

[EDIT: fixed quotes.]

Edited by Mayur (log)
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I'm far from expert in Thai cuisine, however I did live for a summer with a family in Chiang Mai and have been to Thailand many times. The menu at Sri looks to me like a mix of Bangkok and Northern dishes. The sticky rice and large number of noodle dishes points North. There is more of the food I saw in Chiang Mai (which is North) at Sri than at the other Thai restaurants I've been to in NYC.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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Maybe it's just me, but I believe the "cheesier" (more Americanized) the restaurant the better the Pad Thai usually is. After all, they have to distiguish their most popular dish from the field.

It sucked at Pam too.

I wonder how many orders Srip does.

That wasn't chicken

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I've heard that if you get a pad thai you don't like you should just add ketchup. I heard that from a thai person (so it must be true).

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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American ketchup

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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[...]my surmise is that the only reason it is on the menu at Sriphithai at all is that Westerners keep ordering it.[...]

I've noticed that you and some people on Chowhound call the restaurant "Sriphithai." Why is that?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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My question is this: if you know the fish and the pad Thai at Sripraphai are always below standard, why continue to order them?

I go there when I'm in NYC for the green papaya salad, the catfish salad, the chicken soup with coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves, and a couple of other things that can't make their way around my hangover and onto the page right now. Those dishes are always fantastic. Why would I go there to order something I knew they didn't do well? Very few restaurants do EVERYTHING on their menu perfectly.

K, who will find out for herself in a couple of weeks whether or not Sripraphai has declined. To my mind, it hadn't in October, but that was the last time I was there.

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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[...]my surmise is that the only reason it is on the menu at Sriphithai at all is that Westerners keep ordering it.[...]

I've noticed that you and some people on Chowhound call the restaurant "Sriphithai." Why is that?

cause I'm misspelling it. (not tendentiously)

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Maybe it's just me, but I believe the "cheesier" (more Americanized) the restaurant the better the Pad Thai usually is.  After all, they have to distiguish their most popular dish from the field.

It sucked at Pam too.

I wonder how many orders Srip does.

:raz:

It's just you!! Maybe you were there on an off night because I've had pretty great ones at Wondee and Pam, then again, at Tiny Thai I had a really great one too and I guess that places is somewhat westernized... the more authentic restaurants will have fresher and more of the various spices and sauces that go into that thing, but the lackluster/obviously-chinese-run Thai places around the city will often be missing fresh versions of those essential ingredients -

:huh:

I can't believe Fat Guy and Nathan are going through this whole back-and-forth when neither has been to Thailand? (I don't know about FG). I've been there a couple of times for blocks of a couple weeks. However, I usually eschew the inner-Thai voyages and head straight to the coastal areas.

That said, I would directly compare Pad Thai to a hamburger and french fries in the US. The hamburger as we know it was arguably invented in the US and is certainly A if not THE national dish. If you were to go around to random eateries you'd find it on more menus than anything else, even if the restaurant specializes in something completely different.

I knew of Pad Thai's status as Thailand's #1 exportable/palatable/universall-acceptable dish. When I was IN Thailand, of course you try to avoid taking the easy way out and ordering one. Howevever, after skewers upon skewers of fish-balls, and then in the coastal areas, perhaps one too many dishes relying on shellfishy-goodness, or murky laarbs, or flat noodle dishes, nothing is more welcome than a yummy pad thai served on a paper plate and an ice cold thai beer. And I use copious amounts of the dried red chiles on it and saw plenty of thais eating the same damn thing too

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  • 1 month later...

Consensus seems to be that the trick to ordering a great meal here is ordering the dishes they do best. Given that we're now in April, 2007, can regulars update me on the "key" dishes to sample here? What they do best? I have researched the older thread on this but would welcome an update.

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Consensus seems to be that the trick to ordering a great meal here is ordering the dishes they do best. Given that we're now in April, 2007, can regulars update me on the "key" dishes to sample here? What they do best? I have researched the older thread on this but would welcome an update.

At last - a purpose to this thread!

I don't have comprehensive experience of the Sri menu (does anyone?) but I've eaten there many times. My go to dishes are the pork leg with mustard greens (it's long cooked and has that haunting star anise flavor) and the catfish mango salad. Order it 'Thai spicy'. I agree the curries are generally reliable.

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Don't know if this is comprehensive (it's been a criminally long time since I've boarded the 7 train for a Sripraphai fix), but here's the menu listed by New York Magazine.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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stopped in here again Saturday afternoon with a relatively large group, standouts included:

beef offal soup....the broth was sort of like really really good pho...except better.

pork leg with mustard greens...we also had the pork stomach with mustard greens...but that was kind of bland. the leg was great.

a bean thread salad dish was great...as was the sweet sausage...both would have been nice dishes to cool down after a spicy dish. unfortunately, we didn't have any of those...even though we asked for Thai spicy...they still gave us mild.

southern style curry with pork was great...also had a green curry with duck and eggplant.

a special salad involving some sort of fried black fish was blah.

and there was more...all good.

I'm going to dream about that pork leg.

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Inspired by this thread, four of us headed to Sri on Saturday. Food great, a bit unhappy with the service.

7pm Saturday night and the joint was jumping. Took me ten minutes to get one of those little blue tickets. Table in 15 minutes promised, more like 30 in the end. Lots of people milling around, clearly without a clue as to how to even get their name on the list. One harried expediter - definitely not a greeter - working the room. Frustration expressed to me when my wife showed up with our baby.

Som Tam (a1) - excellent as always. Those little nuggets of dried shrimp really do it for me.

Sweet sausage with cucumber, onion, chilli, lime (a31) - impossible to mess this up. Pig candy.

Sauteed Chinese Broccoli with crispy pork (c10) - no greater than the sum of its parts

Pork Leg with mustard greens over rice (o1) - hello my old friend. A good size order for one; friendships become endangered when a four way split is attempted

Crispy Thai Catfish Salad (a8 - I think) - routinely delicious. Not as hot as I like.

Drunken Noodles (n5) - great flavors, nice and spicy. Noodles a bit overcooked for my liking, but they always seem to serve them this way?

Every few minutes as we ate, a server tried to remove a plate that still contained food. Each pause was seen as an opening. Almost stuck my fork in one unfortunate woman's hand in frustration. (Ever tried to take a bone away from a dog?) About 45 minutes in, and as the plates were being cleared away, I asked for a menu with the intention of ordering some extra dishes to go. Was told we'd have to wait 30 minutes as people waiting in line would have to be accommodated first. Eh? Got into a debate with my table mates about the legitimacy of this policy. The consensus: I should suck it up. As we discussed dessert options amongst ourselves the expediter returned, gesturing towards the door, to tell us they needed the table back. We had been seated less than an hour on a Saturday night.

In short: great food, as ever. Servers not at their most nurturing on Saturday nights. Notwithstanding you don't go to Sri for the Danny Meyer treatment, can't help feeling a bit of the Grimaldis syndrome is starting to creep in: We're already number one, why bother being nice?

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We got there at 6 on Saturday. No wait.

What a difference an hour makes.

(When we left at around 8, the place was zoo-like.)

MORAL OF THE STORY: Get there at 6!

(Of course, if everybody starts doing that, 6 will become the new 7.)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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In short: great food, as ever. Servers not at their most nurturing on Saturday nights. Notwithstanding you don't go to Sri for the Danny Meyer treatment, can't help feeling a bit of the Grimaldis syndrome is starting to creep in: We're already number one, why bother being nice?

Our servers could not have been sweeter.

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In short: great food, as ever. Servers not at their most nurturing on Saturday nights. Notwithstanding you don't go to Sri for the Danny Meyer treatment, can't help feeling a bit of the Grimaldis syndrome is starting to creep in: We're already number one, why bother being nice?

Our servers could not have been sweeter.

Yea, they were super nice (and diplomatic when it came to settling arguments : ) but we were rushed a bit too. I hear what FT is saying. Entrees came on top of apps (like 10 min later). Luckily our table was big enough to hold everything. With the kitchen as efficient as it is/was, might be better to take pacing in your own hands.....ordering as you go. I also feel they attempt to clear plates prematurely.

I know this is a small price to pay for easily the best Thai in NYC. Damn if that beef offal soup, glass noodle salad w/chicken, shrimp and squid, green curry w/baby eggplant and duck weren't some of the best flavors I've ever experienced!

Also agree that it appears they aren't very organized re large waits. I imagine some or that is remedied when the garden is open. I saw apprx 60 seats out there.

That wasn't chicken

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Made it out to Woodside at 6pm on Saturday, and we (4) were sat immediately. When we left about an hour and a quarter later the place was packed.

Am pleased to say that the food was as good as I remember it being last year (soooo much better than my seriously disappointing visit in January) - papaya salad, green curry with baby eggplant, soy sauce noodles, and tom kha gai which always makes me happy. Had to order the pork leg with mustard greens after hearing it mentioned so much upthread. Damn. Really amazing dish. I would have been happy to have that one all to myself.

More importantly, I redeemed myself in the eyes of the friend who I talked Sripraphai up to for weeks but who wasn't at all impressed on our last trip. I do have a reputation to uphold . . . . :cool:

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What a fun thread this is!

According to Temple of Thai:
This dish was introduced and made popular as a national dish by Luang Phibunsongkhram when he was Prime Minister during World War II

As in Korea, noodles in Thailand are dishes with Sino-Thai origins.

Traditional Thai (in the good old good old days) would be eaten with your hand. Fork and spoon were introduced much later, but the Thai will use the fork to push the food onto the spoon. You shouldn't be caught putting your fork in your mouth.

Chopsticks are reserved for "Chinese food" which is noodles, although it's ingrained in the urban culture now.

So, what does this have to do with Khun Phibun and phad Thai?

Phibun's first government, in 1938, started off with a series of very pro-Thai (or xenophobically anti-Chinese) measures (depends on whose side your on). His second government - after the war - likewise was very anti-Chinese, with significant worries that an alienated urban Chinese populace (Bangkok in particular was becoming very sinicized by this point) would be a fifth-column for the Chinese communists.

Hence, let's do some window dressing, and use phad Thai as a symbol of happy cooperation between the Thai and Chinese people?

Cynical? Opportunistic? Khun Phibun? How could we suggest such things. (and no references to the current ex-prime minister, please)

So, what does this have to do with the price of somtam in Nong Khai?

There's something in both sides of the argument (take the middle path). Phad Thai is not a dish I would have as part of a meal. It's something I should order on the street, or in a food court. However, I like it, I'm a glutton, and so I would disdain such restrictions.

Now, should you judge a Thai restaurant on the quality of its phad Thai? If I'm in Thailand, no. I judge a Thai restaurant on the quality of what it's supposed to do well. I go to some vendors specifically for their mee krob or for their somtam (or Hainan chicken rice). You judge them on what they're known for.

But outside of Thailand, I don't think it's that unfair. When you go to a Thai restaurant in the US, Canada, Europe, or Egypt, you're looking for that bit of comfort you associate with the country and its cuisine.

For that matter, the ex-prime minister (shhh!) in pushing the export of Thai cuisine, did insist that phad Thai was a dish that had to be done well. Foreigners like it. Give them what they like, and let them be happy. What's wrong with "happy"?

So, if I'm overseas and I stop in an American restaurant and the pork ribs aren't good (or if they're not pork, like in KL), I'll be unhappy. The restaurant may only have the ribs on their menu because its expected, but I expect them to do them well if they've got them there. It's part of the image they're selling.

There, have I been incoherent enough?

Like I said, this is a fun thread.

P.S. - as it seems to be required, my reference is Wyatt, David Thailand: A Short History

P.P.S. - yes, I have been to Thailand

:rolleyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, I think I am heading out to Sripraphai this weekend for lunch. I haven't been in a while, so I appreciate all the recommendations above. However, I need further help: What do I order for the spice wimps in the group. I need a few things with little if any heat - assume "mild" or maybe "medium" in a standard NYC Thai-American place. Suggestions?

Also, I think I understand that they now serve beer. Is this correct?

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