Ayada Thai / 77-08 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst, NY 11373
I’ve read and heard many great reviews of this restaurant saying that Ayada Thai is the place to go to if you’re looking to quit Sripraphai. I used to love that place, but the crowds are restless and menu, endless! At Ayada Thai, in this small, cozy space enclosed by bright yet unblinding green walls, I enjoyed a remarkable and memorable meal with my family.
We ordered the Crispy Duck salad to start (as the raving tips and Yelp reviews suggsted), and fantastic it was. Crispy, meaty, tender, I was relieved to find no bones in it! Next, we tried the E-Sarn sausage. It’s the first time I’ve tried a unique and hearty dish. It’s a savory, Northern Thai speciality I haven’t seen it at any other Thai restaurant before. (Note: Prep yourself for spicy dishes and remember to order a Thai iced tea if you’re spiciness tolerance is low like mine. It’s refreshing!).
Of course, we had to try Pad Thai (with beef!). On a first visit to a Thai restaurant, I determine whether the place makes authentic Thai based on how their well their Pad Thai tastes in comparison to places I’ve been to before (well, what do I really know, I’m not Thai but sometimes I secretly wish I was part…) The Pad Thai passed my silly test with flying colors. I think it would be excellent with shrimp (allergies keep me from it, sadly). Since we couldn’t get enough of the duck (always a favorite choice of meat), we indulged in the Massaman Duck Curry. A mildly spicy, chili coconut curry with hearty cuts of a fine boneless duck, this dish was a flavorful and fulfilling surprise. Afterwards, it received lots of praise from my family. We also had a huge, tender pork leg over rice (not pictured), which was drool-worthy as well.
Another test I have for myself when going to Thai restaurants is finding the perfect Tom Kha Chicken Soup. I’ve been trying to find a decent Tom Kha Gai with balanced flavors, and here at Ayada Thai was where I found it. Of all the well-known Thai outposts in Queens I’ve been to several times, their Tom Kha Chicken Soup doesn’t match up to that of Ayada’s. Chicken soup lovers, this is must try when you come here. Savoriness level is a 10 out of 10!
Only on the weekends, you’ll have the chance to eat a fried banana and taro snack with some sprinkled sugar. You can take a box or two of these treats to go or you can enjoy them as dessert. Even after eating to our hearts’ (and stomachs’) content, there was room for these delectable treats.
It’s about time to take a trip out to Queens where a comfortable and cozy Thai haven awaits you and your curious appetite.
* I recommend you make reservations in advance as place is small and fills up quickly, however the wait time isn’t too bad.
Cocotte / 110 Thompson St., New York, NY 10012
A couple of weekends back, I came across this pleasant little restaurant on Thompson Street and was curious about it. It serves French food, French wine (mostly), and lovely desserts in a relaxing atmosphere, so one afternoon, I had to try it out. I fell in love with everything and asked my friend Amy to dinner the following week. I was hoping she’d fall in love with the place as I had, and I’m glad she did enjoy it as much as I did! How could you not?
Cocotte serves meat and fish dishes in tiny casserole pots also called cocottes as well as soups, salads, appetizers, main dishes and desserts. Raphael runs the service there and is one amazing guy! He’s helpful, friendly, knowledgable about wine and recommends the perfect dishes for you to try. The portions are just right for one person and will leave you extremely satisfied, not overstuffed. The wine list sources great selections from France (Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire Valley) and also from Spain and Italy.
Featured above is my part of dinner enjoyed with my friend on a very, cold evening last week. To start, my apéritif was a sparkling wine from the Loire Valley (should have noted the name), followed by a delicious butternut squash soup, and then a special tender pork cocotte with thinly sliced potatoes beneath. I forgot to include the Bordeaux wine I enjoyed with the cocotte that was recommended to me by Raphael. It was a refreshing choice that went well with my meal. To end our meal, Amy and I had espressos for an evening booster. Cocotte serve brunch on the weekends, and I’m looking forward to visiting then too.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is intimate with calming yet energetic music and can be boisterous later in the evenings. The overall experience is EXCELLENT. You’ll enjoy everything about Cocotte - from the food, wine, environment, and wonderful staff!