2013-02-27 / Restaurant of the Week

Thai Pavilion

I’ve been eating at Thai Pavilion since they first opened on 30th Avenue in Astoria some 20 years ago. Their move to 21st Street in the Pistilli Park Plaza has not deterred me at all, and you should all come and enjoy an exotic, perfectly prepared Thai dinner at the new location of Thai Pavilion.

The décor’s theme is water, from the central wall in the dining room, detailed with wave patterns to the menu’s cover, you’ll be lulled into the serenity of a wonderful Thai meal prepared by Lee, the matriarch and chef of Thai Pavilion. Her lovely daughter Diana greets the steady clientele with her wide smile and grace and also mixes up a wonderful cocktail from the fully-stocked bar. Indeed the lychee martini and lychee mojito are made with top shelf liquor and fresh lychee puree, then garnished with whole, skewered lychee fruit for visual appeal. Thai beer, a selection of wines and anything else you might want will help you relax and settle in for a relaxing meal.

Lovely Lee prepared a Thai feast for us this evening and we thanked her by polishing everything off, leaving just the gleaming white dishes behind. First, the tender, steamed Thai dumplings arrived, filled with ground chicken and peanuts and served with dipping sauce. Their texture and flavor was delicious and countered the crunchiness of the Thai egg roll that came as well. Crispy wrappers filled with cabbage and bamboo shoots are served with plum sauce and we found them irresistible ($6). Shrimp in a blanket have a similar, crispy, delicate crunch, wrapped in egg roll skin and quickly fried, meant to be picked up by the tail and devoured ($7). An impressive, ceramic bowl of fresh mussels arrived, swimming in an aromatic broth scented with lemongrass. There were more than enough of these tender mussels to share and the garlicky dipping sauce was excellent. Other appetizers include Thai soups, the most famous being tom yum gai with chili, lemongrass, mushroom and lime juice. Thai salads called “Yum” are aptly named for their delicious ingredients and unusual combinations. Nam sod is one of my favorites, composed of ground pork, ginger, chili, peanuts, and lime juice. Other salads are made with fresh beets, roasted duck, shrimp, and mixed seafood.

Entrées on the menu offer something for everyone; fish and seafood, poultry, beef, pork, noodles, rice, and plenty of vegetarian options. Multiple visits will be needed for me to get through all my favorites! Lee prepared an extra special dish of grilled Australian baby lamb chops, basted in a savory sweet sauce that made them mouth-wateringly succulent. Her signature dish of Tri-Rong chicken is made with super tender grilled chicken breast and fresh green beans with an exotic sauce that should be soaked up with the accompanying white rice ($15). Thai Pavilion duck is another popular choice for the lean, flavorful, juicy half duck topped with vegetables in basil leaf sauce ($18). Siam beef will make you feel like a king for its thinly sliced beef, marinated in Thai herbs and sesame oil. This savory dish is served with spicy fried rice and pickled ginger. Bangkok lamb is made from tenderloin of Australian lamb with mushrooms, chili and basil leaves, while the steamed fillet of salmon offers a light and flavorful meal topped with shrimp, mushrooms, scallions, and bell peppers in ginger sauce ($17). It’s important to note that while all Thai food is flavorful, it is not all ‘hot’. If you have any concerns about spiciness, your kind server will assist you. Most dishes are mild, but can be adjusted if you like more heat.

There is a selection of a dozen curry dishes available, made with your choice of chicken, beef, pork, squid, or shrimp, and of course, vegetables. With so many choices you can find a new favorite every time. Thai fried rice is made with your choice of beef, chicken or pork, and the selection of noodle dishes includes the classic Pad Thai, spicy noodles, and noodle curry. Vegetarians can choose from lots of vegetable and tofu dishes, such as Tofu Basil, with mushrooms, chili peppers and garlic in basil sauce, or sautéed eggplant, vegetable curry, bean sprouts with bean curd and more.

Thai Pavilion has incredible lunch specials that start at just $8….cheaper than fast food chains and far healthier and more delicious. From noon until 4:00pm Monday to Friday, you’ll get a Thai salad, chicken soup, jasmine rice and your choice of entrée.

Desserts at Thai Pavilion should not be missed, as Lee prepares an incredible apple fritter with a creamy vanilla sauce, decadent fried bananas with raspberry sauce, coconut ice cream, pumpkin custard, and more. They offer free delivery and fast, friendly service with a warm smile in the dining room.

For a delicious and satisfying Thai meal, served in a warm and friendly atmosphere, visit the new location of Thai Pavilion. In warm weather, outdoor tables allow for al fresco dining, but for now, catch the wave at Thai Pavilion. Sa-wa-dee-Kah!

23-92 21st Street, Astoria


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