Saturday, June 7, 2014
Pye Boat Noodle Makes Waves in Astoria
It's always exciting when a new restaurant opens in Astoria, especially because of the high standards we've come to expect. With the coming of Pye Boat Noodle, a new Thai noodle restaurant in the Broadway neighborhood, that standard has definitely been upheld - and then some.
Dan and I along with friends, Jennifer and Nuno tried it last week and were impressed with the offering, the service and the ambiance. The whole shebang was something to write home about, and we'll definitely be going back for some more tangled noodle goodness.
Intrigued by Pye Boat's unique white and blue clapboard exterior and a sign that appears to be written backwards, it's clear that this is no ordinary Thai restaurant. In fact, when you walk in, the place very much embodies something you'd find in a Thai seaside locale with fresh, whimsical elements infused into it. The walls are decked in rustic wood paneling and accented by blue and teal embellishments such as the posts by the bar, the cabinet doors and such. I especially liked the vintage art such as an old Coca Cola sign near the bar and other decor that looks like Thai pop art.
Despite the lovely interior, it was a mild night so we decided to eat in their expansive back garden, which comfortably seats about 25-30 people. I love the little rectangular pool that's the focal point of the space and brings with it a classic simplicity and calmness.
Expecting to see a large, all-encompassing menu as in other Asian fusion restaurants in the vicinity, we were surprised by how concise and focused it was. It's clear that Pye Boat has its specialties and this is exactly what the clientele will know them for - the noodles!
Fried Pork Strips - I spied this appetizer in Meg's Pye Boat write-up and knew I had to try it. Reminding me almost of a thin jerky-like texture, the pork strips were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Accompanied by a fiery chili sauce, it elevated the flavor of the pork to the next level. Needless to say, this appetizer disappeared quickly.
Salted Wings - Dan and I are big wing people and can sometimes be harsh critics when it comes to this savory snack. Although Pye Boat's version didn't look to be particularly meaty, the wings were very delicious, with a crispy, salted skin and a wonderfully moist inside. This too came with a spicy chili oil vinaigrette, but it wasn't even needed.
Boat Noodle with Pork - There were two ways you can order your noodles, either dry or in a soup broth, and I chose the latter. I also appreciated that you can have a choice of rice, wide ribbon, egg or vermicelli noodles. My gluten free diet dictated my noodle choice, as I immediately decided on the rice and wasn't disappointed. The pork came in three varieties including an anise pork meatball, fresh slices of lean pork as well as fried pork skin, which was my favorite. I also must praise the soup broth, which was deeply flavored by the anise, which added an almost Middle Eastern quality to this dish - so unique!
Lychee Smoothie - Originally thinking this was an adult cocktail, it turned out to be a non alcoholic frozen juice, which was A-OK. I enjoyed the tropical lychee flavors I got both in the pureed and whole form, with an entire lychee placed on top of the slushie.
Service and Cost:
We were greeted by Pye Boat's friendly staff and throughout the entire experience felt well taken care of. It was nice to see that outdoor dining service didn't fall by the wayside, as can sometimes happen and the overall pacing of the meal remained good.
Costs are affordable and on point with other comparable Thai/Asian fusion restaurants in the nabe.
Appetizers - $4.95 - $7
Noodles - $8.95 - $11.95
Rice Dishes - $8.95 - $12.50
Pye Boat Noodle - 35-13 Broadway, Astoria NY 11106
N/Q Train to Broadway or R/M Train to Steinway