2013-08-28 / Restaurant of the Week

Leng

A balmy summer evening is the perfect backdrop for a flavorful, exotic meal at Leng Thai. Leng Thai is family run and began in Bangkok in 1942 when a man named Leng Siricharoen opened his first restaurant cooking traditional Thai dishes for the locals. Over the years, these cherished recipes were perfected and brought to Astoria to a grateful clientele who can be seen seven days a week, enjoying wonderful Thai cuisine. The friendly, helpful staff welcomes everyone with a warm greeting of “sawadee-ka”.

The outdoor garden is ideal for a lovely meal, furnished with teak tables, lanterns and bamboo lining the walls. Inside the sleek wooden floors and stone walls are offset with wood and leather banquettes outfitted with colorful Thai pillows. An inner dining room resembles a Buddhist temple with soft lighting from woven light fixtures and serene artwork from Thailand adorning the walls.

Leng Thai serves refreshing cocktails made with wine and sake, such as a “Sakejito” which is a mojito made with sake, mulled lime and lots of fresh mint, making it the perfect summer drink. Try the “Pommemosa” made with pomegranate juice and champagne, for a twist on the classic Mimosa. There is freshly mixed sangria, red and white wine served in lovely carafes, and frosty Thai beer .

We started with Vietnamese ravioli, which are actually steamed rice noodle crepes filled with ground chicken, jicama and shiitake mushrooms and mild seasonings, served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce ($8). Delicate spring rolls are impossibly light and filled with vegetables, shrimp or savory duck. Tender steamed dumplings filled with vegetables or shrimp are served in a bamboo basket with dipping sauce. Most people are familiar with chicken and beef satays on skewers and Leng’s are so tender, and served with peanut sauce and special cucumber relish for dipping ($7). Other appetizers from the grill include tender calamari, grilled tofu, vegetables and marinated pork. We shared a refreshing shredded mango salad 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.

All Thai food is flavorful, but it’s not all “hot”. The menu includes meats, fresh seafood, fish, vegetables, rice and noodle dishes. Spicy dishes are marked and all dishes can be adjusted to your liking. We love fish and so our kind waiter suggested “talay pao” which made a knockout presentation on a rectangular platter. Three skewers, fresh off the grill, were laced with a fillet of salmon, grilled jumbo shrimp, plump scallops and either mild ginger sauce or spicy chili garlic sauce, as you prefer ($19). This dish offered plenty to share or to take home for tomorrow’s lunch. Massaman coconut curry sauce is cooked with shrimp, avocado, potato, onions and cashews and has a mildly sweet flavor, perfect over the white rice that accompanies this dish. I also love the crispy, boneless duck glazed with soy, ginger and tamarind sauce ($15). If you like beef try the sirloin steak with lemongrass sauce, or the baby back ribs, grilled to perfection with hoisin sauce, served with sticky rice. You’ll even find Korean style beef with sesame ginger, served with kimchi.

The most famous noodle dish in Thai cuisine is Pad Thai, made with rice noodles sautéed with shrimp, egg, peanuts, bean sprouts and scallions. This dish can be adjusted for vegetarians, or they may choose any other noodle or rice dish with vegetables only. Another popular noodle dish is called “Kee Mao Talay” and combines mixed seafood with chili, garlic, thai basil and Cantonese style noodles ($14).

Side orders of brown rice, traditional sticky rice, sautéed greens or scallion pancakes are great for sharing.

Sweeten your palate with mango sticky rice, decadent fried bananas and ice cream, taro custard, or an Asian banana split, perfect for sharing.

Leng is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Lunch specials are served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday and cost just $8, served with house salad or soup of the day, plus entrée. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and includes your meal and drinks for $19.99.

Leng Thai will deliver to your home or office, but take advantage of warm, al fresco dining in the garden or in the serene dining room. The food is excellent, the service is friendly and fast and all dishes are beautifully presented like artwork. Thank you to the family and staff at Leng Thai.

33-09 Broadway, Astoria
718.956.7117

www.lengthai.com

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