2012-08-29 / Restaurant of the Week

LENG Authentic Thai and Asian Cuisine

Enjoy the balmy days and nights of late summer in the lush, tropical garden patio at Leng Authentic Thai and Asian Restaurant. Native Astoria trees and bamboo provide a cool canopy for the wooden deck and bistro tables below, all illuminated by lovely lanterns. Even if the weather brings you indoors, the interior dining rooms are equally serene, comfortable, and beautifully decorated. Now, the Siricharoen family and the staff are proud to announce their exotic Thai brunch, served on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

It all started in Bangkok in 1942 when a man named Leng opened his first restaurant cooking traditional Thai dishes for the locals. For the last five years, Leng has been serving a steady clientele from near and far who come for the fresh, authentic Thai and Asian cuisine, prepared with exotic ingredients, herbs and spices according to family recipes. The service is fast and friendly and best of all, the prices are great. Leng’s bar serves beer, wine, sake, and inventive cocktails such as the “sakejito” which is a mojito made with sake, mulled lime and lots of fresh mint, making it the perfect summer drink. The Pommosa is a cocktail of champagne and pomegranate juice that is refreshing and fruity. Later we tried a carafe of the house sangria, made with either red or white wine and a mélange of fresh fruit, including luscious lychee. There’s also beer from Thailand, Japan and China, served icy cold.

Before we talk about the dinner and lunch menu, Leng Thai is now offering Thai brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm. The prix fixe menu costs $19.95 and includes your choice of entrée and three brunch cocktails such as ‘sakemary’, pommosa, sangria or Thai beer, making this a great value. Thai cuisine is like no other, and known for the combination of three key flavors: sweet, savory and sour. Fresh vegetables, meats, poultry and noodles are combined with all three elements, along with “heat” from chilis and curries in some dishes. If you’ve never tried it, you should, here at Leng. One of the most popular brunch items is called “Thai hunger,” a type of savory pancake topped with Thai style pork sausage and fried eggs. This dish is so delicious, it will make you forget whatever happened the night before! How about a spicy omelet with tofu, mushrooms, tomatoes and fresh basil leaves to wake you up? The “Neua Yang” sandwich is a Korean dish of marinated, barbecued beef and kimchi piled onto an Asian bun with rice salad. Classic pad thai noodles are also available if you like, and the patio gets packed each weekend for this unique brunch you won’t find anywhere else in Astoria.

Our dinner started with an array of gorgeous appetizers, presented in woven baskets. The shrimp spring rolls are filled with a plump prawn and a slice of chicken, then wrapped tightly and fried till crisp and golden. The accompanying sweet and spicy sauce made the perfect counterpoint to the savory shrimp ($8). Next we devoured the Vietnamese ravioli which was a type of crepe filled with seasoned chicken, jicama root and shiitake mushrooms and a delicious sauce ($8). The chicken and beef satays are a house favorite, very tender from the grill and served with peanut sauce and special cucumber relish for dipping ($7). All appetizers can be shared, such as a basket of tender, steamed dumplings filled with either shrimp or vegetables with the accompanying dipping sauce. The salads are like no others and the fresh ingredients really stand out. Our shredded mango salad was tossed with avocado, red onion and roasted coconut in lime vinaigrette dressing ($9). Some salads are more like a meal, such as the crispy duck salad with red onion, pineapple and peanuts. The soups are amazing too, such as the hot and spicy lemongrass soup with shrimp, mushrooms and kefir lime leaves.

The dinner menu offers something for everyone, including meats, seafood, fish, vegetables, rice and noodle dishes. Spicy dishes are marked and all dishes can be adjusted to your liking. From the seafood section, we were presented with an eye-dazzling platter of plump shrimp, scallops, and chunks of salmon artfully laced on wood skewers with shiitake mushrooms. The spicy chili garlic sauce was a great accent to the fresh seafood and made for a great summer time meal ($19). Shao Ob T-Lay is a traditional seafood dish presented in a cast iron pot full of jumbo shrimp, squid, scallops, and mussels atop a trio of white, brown and red rice for a unique dish that offers plenty to share ($18).

If you prefer meat, the sirloin steak is perfectly grilled with lemongrass sauce and served with vegetables.

Korean style beef called “bul go gui” is excellent, with its flavorful ginger soy sauce, carrots and scallions meant to be soaked up with white rice. Crispy boneless duck is a work of art, glazed with soy, ginger, and tamarind sauce. Since some like it hot, try the “kua kling mhoo” pork, made with tender slices of marinated pork, Thai eggplant, green beans and Kaffir lime in a very spicy turmeric paste that still allows you to taste all the wonderful ingredients.

Vegetarians and carnivores alike will love the best known dish called Pad Thai. It’s traditionally made with rice noodles sautéed with shrimp, egg, peanuts, bean sprouts and scallions, but can be adjusted for vegetarians. Any rice or noodle dish can be made with vegetables and tofu instead of meat or fish, so just tell your friendly server. Side orders of brown rice, traditional sticky rice, sautéed greens or scallion pancakes are great for sharing too so order some for the table.

Traditionally you should end your meal with something sweet, even if you’re too stuffed to move. Share the delicious fried banana flanked by cool, creamy green tea ice cream or sweet sticky rice, sweetened with condensed milk and garnished with fresh berries. American style cakes are also on hand, so ask for the special desserts of the day.

Leng is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Lunch specials cost just $8, served with house salad or soup of the day, plus entrée. The Web site boasts beautiful photos and you may place an order on-line for free delivery to your home or office. For a real dining treat, unwind and relax in the serene garden or dining rooms at Leng Authentic Thai cuisine. Welcoming staff, amazing food, great service, inviting atmosphere and good prices all combine to make Leng a great place to visit, again and again. “Khob Khun Mak Mak” means “thank you very much” for the delicious Thai and Asian food!

33-09 Broadway  Astoria


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