Ai's menus are replete with classic and creative plates. A selection of traditional rolls, such as tuna or salmon ($4 each), will fill the usual sushi strongholds, but for hardened appetite bunkers, call in the game-changing bombs of special rolls such as the rainbow (a California roll topped with assorted sashimi and rainbow caviar, $9.95). There are also hearty chef's specials, including mango passion shrimp (sautéed shrimp and mangos in a special Thai pepper sauce, $13.95), and dinner entrees, including teriyaki beef negimaki (thin-sliced beef and scallions in teriyaki or Asian garlic sauce, $12.95).
As salty breezes blow in from the ocean and Jamaica Bay, they intermingle with the scents of contemporary Thai cuisine on the outdoor deck at Thai Rock. Specialties include the Poh Taek, a hot-and-sour hot pot filled with a combination of shrimp, mussels, squid, and whitefish. Chefs also stir-fry rice noodles with egg and dark, sweet soy sauce to create pad see-ew, available with a choice of protein such as chicken, certified Angus beef, pork, duck, or tofu.
As far as party spots go, Thai Rock lives up to its name. Live music rocks the indoor dining room year round, while tunes echo onto the outdoor deck and bar during warmer months. The eatery frequently hosts events, from karaoke contests to outdoor Zumba classes on the deck. The deck, with its panoramic view of—and direct access to—Jamaica Bay, is definitely a highlight of Thai Rock, allowing for warm-weather fun including pre-dinner jet skiing thanks to Rockaway Jet Ski at Thai Rock.
Owner Chai Chunton dreamed up Nodus Thai Noodles and Rice with a focus on noodles in particular, transplanting Thai cuisine from distant shores to the 28-year-old New York storefront. Collaborating with two designers and a fellow restaurateur, he recreated the polished-wood and bright-neon ambience of a modern-day Thai diner. Under Chai's direction, the chefs take dishes from across the world—including paella and flambé—and infuse them with Thai flavors, precisely applying the spices via psychokinesis.