Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Thai Elephant - The Elephant in the Room You Want
It's been a very long time since I've been to Thai Elephant on 31st Street in the Ditmars neighborhood. Frankly, I haven't had Thai in quite a while, and the night after our Queens Swap was as good an opportunity as any. Meg, Tom, Dan and I decided to give it a try (we were all ravenous!) - and for some, it was a new experience while for others a really pleasant do-over. Here's what we had:
Thai Buffalo Wings - Since it was technically football night, wings were very appropriate. We all dug in with gusto into these crispy looking things, which were quite tender and tasty. I especially liked the sweet chili sauce that served as the dipping. The portion was generous and we each had about two wings to tide us over.
Curry Puff - I've tried these here before and remember liking them. Consisting of ground chicken, potato and onion, wrapped in a flaky puff pastry, it was a nice way to indulge. While the exterior was a bit on the oily side, we still enjoyed it, as it was comforting and delicious. Served with a chilled cucumber sauce, I loved the juxtaposition between hot and cold, refreshing and savory.
Tom Yum Soup - This is one of Dan's favorites, and I of course had to have a bite too. I loved the flavorings in the broth, as the overall effect was a bit spicy but in the most pleasant way - really heating up your palate for the next course. My favorite aspect of the soup were the beautiful mushroom chunks that added an element of earthiness and texture.
Thai Cashew Nut Chicken - A new dish for me, I loved the sound of it, as it was a mixture of sauteed cashews with onions, bell peppers, celery, carrots and mushrooms. The whole thing was then tied together with a pungent chili sauce, which I asked to be prepared on the mild side. The best part for me were the cashews of course, and once enveloped in that smoky sauce, they took on a different quality, almost as if they were roasted. The dish came with a side of rice and therefore besides containing lots of filling ingredients, the rice rounded it out completely.
Other Dishes -My dining companions loved their dishes, each one of them getting something different. Meg's duck garden salad looked and tasted spectacular, the duck was nice and crispy and beautifully cooked. Dan ordered a classic Pad Thai, which he enjoyed (I didn't taste it though) and Tom got a beautiful dome of fried rice, with which he also seemed pleased with.
Service and Cost:
I'm happy to report that service was attentive and prompt, but also nice and laid back. After a busy day filled with fun activities (which still exhausted us nonetheless) it provided a great respite.
Costs are affordable and include:
Appetizers - $4 - $7
Salad - $5 - $8
Curry - $9 - $15
Noodles - $9 - $15
Fried Rice - $8 - $10
Vegetables - $9 - $10
Entrees - $9 - $15
Sides - $1 - $5
Thai Elephant - 21-09 31st Street, Astoria NY 11105
N/Q Train to Ditmars Blvd (last stop)