Restaurant Of The Week
By Teresa Barile
Thai Pavilion Has Expanded To Serve You Better
If you’ve ever waited for a table at the very popular Thai Pavilion as have so many faithful customers, you’ll be happy to know that they have recently expanded to serve you better. The restaurant reopened on January 10, 2000, owners Lee and Paul took over the space next door and made extensive renovations to double the size of the dining room, kitchen and rest rooms. After a short period of growing pains, Thai Pavilion is now operating at its best ever, with plenty of seating and the same delicious, exotic Thai cuisine with some new surprises, too.
The sparkling clean and intimate dining room now has 23 tables (as opposed to 10 previously), and they are often full, especially on weekends, with a faithful clientele and lots of newcomers. Lovely silk scarves and artifacts from Thailand decorate the walls and tables and the courteous wait staff is dressed in exquisite native clothes with colors that reflect the season. New menus have been printed and a new wine list includes a wide variety of reasonably priced vintages from California and Italy.
Some wonderful new additions to the menu include an appetizer of tender, clean mussels, steamed and cooked in an aromatic broth of lemon juice, Thai basil, lemongrass and galanga, a type of ginger and presented in a clay pot. The generous portion is plenty for sharing, but you should try also their famous steamed dumplings with plum dipping sauce. Thai egg rolls are light and crispy parcels filled with ground pork, bamboo shoots and cabbage and served with a sweet and pungent sauce ($3.50). A clear shrimp soup with mushrooms and lime juice is also an excellent choice to start.
Entrees combine such familiar ingredients as chicken, pork, beef and shrimp with unusual spices and herbs to create the one-of-a-kind dishes that Thai Pavilion is famous for. New entrees on the menu include lamb kateam, sautéed tenderloin of lamb with garlic, mushrooms, coriander and ground pepper ($12.95). Quickly becoming a house favorite, a new dish called "triplets" combines grilled beef, chicken and shrimp with curry rice. This delectable dish is served with peanut sauce and cucumber salad ($15.95).
All of Thai Pavilion’s dishes are cooked to order and presented beautifully. Take, for instance, the piquant chicken with chili pepper, mushrooms and garlic in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, served in a beautiful lettuce leaf bowl ($7.95). Carrots carved into butterflies and nests of shredded red cabbage also provide visual beauty to these wonderful dishes. An entrée called Emerald Sea features a mélange of shrimp, fresh fish and mussels with green peas, zucchini, string beans and green peppers in a curry sauce for a mouthwatering sensation.
It’s important to note that while all Thai food is flavorful, not all of it is hot. The friendly wait staff will help you decide if you’re not familiar with Thai cooking and if you are, all dishes can be adjusted in spiciness to your liking. If you prefer mild dishes, a good one to try is the sautéed shrimp with glass noodles, egg, onions, mushrooms and scallions. You’ll also enjoy chicken sautéed with mixed vegetables and garlic sauce. In addition, there are a number of vegetarian and noodle dishes to choose from, such as Pad Thai, a traditional noodle dish, or eggplant sautéed with chili, garlic and basil leaves. I, on the other hand, love spicy food and devoured Lee’s special spicy noodle dish made with wide noodles, basil, chili peppers and onions ($7.95). A glass of wine or a refreshing Thai beer will cool your palate.
Thai Pavilion makes wonderful desserts to complement your meal. A "Must try" is their famous apple fritters, served with warm vanilla sauce or the crispy fried bananas with sweet raspberry sauce. Homemade Thai ice cream will hit the spot. Try Thai Pavilion for lunch as well with incredible lunch specials, most at $5.95, including steamed rice, soup and salad. They will also deliver to your home or office, so try something different for lunch, served Monday through Friday, from noon to 3 p.m.
Another thing that hasn’t changed at Thai Pavilion is their no credit card policy. In order to keep prices low, they only accept cash, and a bank is conveniently located next door in case you forgot to bring cash.
Thai Pavilion is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. With the newly expanded dining room, you probably won’t have to wait to enjoy the delicious and exotic Thai cuisine that has made Lee and Paul famous in Astoria. Stop in soon and show your support and love for great cuisine.
37-10 30th Ave.