Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Leng Thai - A New Place on Astoria's Block

Leng Thai - 33-09 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106
N/W Train to Broadway

Crystal and I lunched here on a Sunday and it was simply scrumptious. We were in the mood for something light, and hearing a lot of good things about this place--and Crystal being a veggie--we decided it was time to explore it. And yes...I've raved about Wave Thai in the past--but watch out Wave because Leng is definitely on a path to win over my palate.

Modern, sleek yet comfortable, Leng right off the bat sets the mood for a pleasant dining experience. A big, cushy leather couch welcomes you--and is especially relaxing to lounge on when waiting for your dining companions to show. And while you’re waiting, you can’t help but stare at the intricate wall installations—the most noticeable being a collage of wine bottles, embellished with gorgeous silk flowers.

The inside is equally lovely and while colorful, it remains tasteful and pleasing to the eye. The seating is cushiony and especially comfortable for your back—you feel like you’re sitting on a soft couch without the sinking feeling. The kitchen is semi-exposed but in such a way that it’s endearing. The area around it is designed in a beautiful rich wood and embellished by jars of various things like spices, veggies and fruits; colorful teapots and other clever tchotkies.The walls are decked with canvas photographs of the owner’s parents—one of them being Leng himself.

Check this place out in the summer—Crystal spied an outdoor seating area in the back!

Leng offers some great traditional plates such as Pad Thai—of course—lemongrass soup, various dumplings and such. But they also have several non-Thai surprises up their sleeve—think Korean beef, Vietnamese ravioli or grilled fish wrapped in a banana leaf. So you see, the menu is definitely not boring.

Both Crystal and I chose specialty drinks. I got the Thai iced tea—red tea, sweetened with sugar and condensed milk—and Crystal had the Green tea iced tea. Of the two, hers was much better. Mine tasted good for about 2 short sips and then got too heavy and potent—and the muddy-red color was a bit unsettling.

For a starter, we shared the sweet and sour vegetarian rolls. These were typical spring rolls that you can also find at Wave Thai or Thai Elephant. But despite a lack of originality, they were absolutely delicious—and the sweet and sour sauce was delightful. I would definitely get this again next time—one serving comes with four generous pieces.

I wanted to try something different and ordered the Korean beef for my entrée—it was sautéed with veggies and served with clear noodles. Besides the beef being a tad overcooked, I loved this dish. The noodles were my favorite part because they looked like glass—hence the name glass noodles—and so light. The veggies were chunky and savory—I especially liked the big hunks of onion and mushroom. My portion was more than generous and although I started hungry, I couldn’t do damage to more than half of my plate.

Crystal’s veggie dish of eggplant sautéed with fresh basil and chili garlic looked absolutely gorgeous. It was even served on a stylish flower plate and we were both impressed. Again, the portion was large so she devoured as much of it as possible and took the rest home.

Service and Cost:
The waitstaff was efficient and fast but their demeanor wasn’t overly charming. Don’t get me wrong, they were kind but unfortunately didn’t speak English too well to describe or recommend anything to us. I wanted to ask questions but felt awkward to approach the waiter in fear of getting a quizzical look.

The value here is incredible and if you’re looking for something inexpensive and delicious, I would strongly suggest coming to Leng. Appetizers range from $5-$8 and entrees go for $9-$18 (but mostly in the $9-$10 range). I also noticed—and Maria told me about—a fabulous lunch special they offer. $7 for an entrée, soup or salad—how great is that?!

3 Mmmms


  1. this place is next on my list!

  2. I've been really happy with Leng, it's my top delivery spot currently. The Duck Rolls and the Scallion Pancakes are a must every order - the rolls taste so fresh and the sauce with the pancakes is excellent. The first time I ordered from here, the pad thai was a bit bland, but after staying away for a little while, the last time I ordered it was perfect. Highly Recommended! And I saw the garden open as I walked by this afternoon...

  3. Great to know about the outdoor garden; I'll have to check it out soon!



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