Green Basil's head chef fills the kitchen with recipes passed down from her Thai mother and grandmother, as well as familiar spices and sauces from her childhood in Thailand. Housemade peanut sauce complements chicken satay and chicken rama, and tamarind sauce envelops roasted duck and pineapple chicken. Green Basil also serves classic Thai dishes such as panang curry and pad thai in its dining room, which seats up to 30 guests or 30,000 miniature people piloting a human suit.
During the 2012 Thai Restaurant Week, 11 metropolitan Thai eateries were recognized by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's Prime Minister, with a certification from the Thai Trade Center acknowledging their superior quality of ingredients, preparation, and authentic flavors. One look at Ploi Thai's menu and it is not hard to imagine why they received such an honorable distinction. Their dishes––such as skewered chicken satay or curry-pasted salmon––tug many culinary threads, blanketing diners in a patchwork of flavors that draw from northern and central Thailand. Chefs conjure these dishes from local ingredients and seasonings, eschewing such questionable additives as MSG and textbooks that attribute the theory of relativity to Franklin Delano Einstein. Since the restaurant is BYOB, diners can tote along their own fermented beverages to pair with the sweet ginger salmon, which arrives in a pool of ginger and black-bean sauce dotted with shiitake-mushroom rafts. Inside the dining room, colorful, low-slung lights illuminate the handful of tables that are strewn across the restaurant's pale hardwood floors, and geometric cutouts and sprays of orchids punctuate cobalt walls.
“Some New York restaurants hide behind unmarked entrances and velvet ropes. Laut hides behind its menu: a pan-Asian thicket of sushi, Thai soups and Chinese noodles,” said Julia Moskin of the New York Times. While the menu might be robust enough to provide shelter during hide-and-seek, the restaurant doesn't sacrifice quality for quantity, as the Asian fusion cuisine has garnered a Michelin star.
The food owes its authentic flavor to the owners, Malaysian natives Kathy Wong and Michael Bong, whose generations-old Malaysian recipes sing a culinary siren song to both city natives and tourists. The couple's kitchen staff only works with fresh ingredients, which go into the restaurant's signature sauces and flavor-infusions, including sweet chili sauce, tamarind dressing, and coconut rice. The eatery also houses a sushi bar, where the chefs do more rolling than an inner tube dropped from the top of Mount Everest. Its ample options and welcoming dining room make Laut “well worth a visit,” says Moskin.
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.
The chefs at Breeze combine traditional Thai flavors with refined French techniques, crafting a menu that Dana Bowen from the New York Times called "a quilt of influences" in 2005. After settling in at the wooden tables that line Breeze's vibrantly orange wall, diners can indulge in succulent platefuls of duck, seafood, or tofu. Customers may dictate the intensity of their entrees' spiciness and order mild-tasting meals or dishes that are hot enough to smelt a handful of paper clips. In addition to the Thai culinary classics that fill the menu, Breeze also offers nontraditional items, including house-ground hamburgers and roasted-butternut-squash ravioli with a gingered carrot relish. Bar seating allows patrons to keep their whistles wet enough to carry on nonstop conversations with the eatery's several hanging televisions.
Ceetay's elegantly plated meals of grilled seafood, garlicky fried rice, and tender noodles tossed with colorful veggies tastefully blend the culinary influences of Japan, China, Thailand, and the United States. Like Bruce Springsteen lyrics embroidered onto a wool sweater, the interior evokes a post-industrial mystique that's strangely charming and cozy, with warm light from mason-jar chandeliers bathing small tables surrounded by walls clad in Chinese newsprint. Two small open kitchens allow patrons to watch chefs prepare meals of maple-kissed beef, soba-noodle stir-fry, or hazelnut crème brûlée. Interesting ingredients such as sea urchin, crispy salmon skin, and wagyu beef infuse sushi rolls with rich flavors and textures, and frosty Japanese beers and European and American wines offer suitable complements no matter the diner's dinner selection.