Of The Week
Of The Week
For exotic and authentic Thai cuisine, prepared fresh and beautifully presented, visit Ubol's Kitchen on Steinway Street in Astoria. Ubol's Kitchen has been in Astoria 18 years and is proud to have a faithful clientele who come for unique Thai dishes, served in a comfortable, friendly environment. The clean, informal dining room features coral walls and matching tablecloths and very friendly service. The prices are very reasonable so there's no reason not to visit soon and sample some traditional Thai cooking.
The friendly owner, named "Boy," and his helpful manager, Suki, are always on hand to make your dining experience a pleasant one. In many cases, customers are greeted by their first names. My favorite part of any Thai meal is the array of tempting appetizers. For a great sampling, start off with the mixed appetizer platter, available for two or four persons. From this gleaming white platter you will sample some of Ubol's specialty appetizers. Tiny, finger-sized Thai spring rolls are so crisp and delicate, perfect for dipping into the sweet plum sauce. Whole shrimp are wrapped in crisp rice paper and fried till golden brown for a delicious treat, while the curry puffs are wonderful triangles of flaky pastry, stuffed with ground chicken, potatoes, and the chef's special spices. Also on the platter are delicate crab balls, redolent with sweet crab meat and tender skewers of chicken and beef called satays with an accompanying peanut sauce that I'm crazy about. Another great appetizer is their Thai spicy chicken wings. These flavorful wings are different from the Buffalo variety and don't worry about messing up your fingers--the courteous staff will bring you a water bowl to cleanse your hands after you're done.
Thai cuisine employs a wide variety of herbs and spices to lend it a unique and wonderful flavor. Soups flavored with mint, lemongrass and lime are made extra special with the addition of fresh shrimp, scallops, mushrooms and chili. Fresh salads dazzle the palate with vegetables, spices and meats. My favorite is the ground pork salad, flavored with onion, chili, ginger, scallions, peanuts and lime juice, on a radicchio leaf. While all Thai food is flavorful, not all dishes are hot and the chef will adjust every dish to your particular taste. Another house specialty is the duck salad, featuring tender, boneless duck, seasoned with lime juice, peanuts and onion.
Enjoy a refreshing Thai beer named Singha or a bottle of wine while you await your entrée, or one of their fruity drinks, made on the spot. Ubol's Kitchen offers fish, chicken, pork, beef, rice and noodle dishes as well as a variety of vegetarian dishes. In addition to the regular menu, the chef offers daily specials like drunken fish, a spectacular whole fried fish, served with a piquant chili sauce. A dish called Talay Thai combines fresh seafood with Thai herbs, chili, onion and basil leaves ($11.95).
Pork in the Garden is a popular dish, with chunks of marinated barbecued pork, vegetables and special seasonings, served with rice ($11.95). Chicken lemongrass is a light and flavorful dish sautéed with ginger, onion and lemongrass and topped with roasted cashews ($7.95). Flaming chicken, topped with a sweet and spicy sauce and served ablaze is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate ($7.95). Succulent duck is prepared several ways, all of which are delicious and lean, such as the duck with basil, fried and topped with crisp basil leaves. The boneless red curry duck is sautéed with chili, bamboo shoots, pineapple, peas and coconut milk with red curry. Served over rice, this is a unique taste sensation ($11.95). There are many rice and noodle dishes in Thai cuisine, the most popular being pad Thai, a combination of rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, egg, onion, bean sprouts and peanuts ($7.25).
Vegetarians will delight in an extensive variety of appetizers, soups, salads and entrées such as mixed vegetables with red curry, served on a sizzling platter ($7.95) or in garlic broth. A mock-duck dish is so authentic few would know the difference, especially as it is seasoned with delicious Thai herbs and spices.
Try the mango with sticky rice for dessert. Thai custard or ice cream will also cleanse your palate and finish a wonderful meal.
Ubol's Kitchen is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for dinner only, and Thursday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Credit cards are accepted and there is free delivery on orders of $15 or more. Remember, everything is homemade and all dishes can be made mild, medium, hot or very hot to suit your taste. Visit Ubol's Kitchen soon, check their ad for special promotions.
24-42 Steinway St.,