2015-08-12 / Restaurant of the Week

LENG THAI

This quote from their website tells the whole story:

“Our father's name was "Leng." His exotic recipes have traveled a long way from opening his own restaurant in Bangkok in 1942. Perfected over the years, by our father and mother, his recipes have journeyed all this way to bring you Leng's unique vision of Thai Asian Cuisine. Because it is through you, my patrons, the next generation of Siricharoens carries on our parents' dream.”

Unless you fly to Thailand, you won’t find more authentic Thai dishes than those served at Leng Thai on Broadway in Astoria. While Leng Thai is my favorite destination for Thai food all year long, a summertime visit is extra special since you can enjoy their lovely outdoor garden dining room. Balmy breezes waft through the bamboo trees and across the wood plank patio while you dine like royalty on Leng Thai’s legendary, authentic cuisine. The service is delivered by kind, friendly servers who are always smiling and eager to please.

Miss Title and the staff will greet you warmly as you enter the serene and sleek dining room 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. While you peruse the list of tantalizing appetizers at Leng Thai, you can sip on one of their 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. The mixed berry Sakejito is a seasonal version as is the “Summer Breeze”. The “Pommemosa” is made with pomegranate juice and champagne and there’s freshly mixed sangria, wine, and icy cold Thai beer.

Appetizers are so good here, you could easily order 3 or 4 for dinner, but then you’d miss out on the great entrées. My friend and I started with a refreshing shredded mango salad, tossed with avocado, red onion, and roasted coconut in sweet lime vinaigrette dressing. Crispy duck salad is another great choice with red onion, peanuts and fruit in spicy lime dressing. Sliced, grilled steak salad is prepared similarly and could be a light dinner or lunch. We devoured the Vietnamesestyle ravioli, a beautifully presented rice noodle crepe filled with chicken, jicama and shitake mushrooms. Most people are familiar with chicken and beef satays on skewers and Leng’s are so tender, served with peanut sauce and special cucumber relish for dipping ($7). Other appetizers from the grill include tender calamari, marianated pork, or eggplant. Tender steamed dumplings filled with vegetables or shrimp are served in a bamboo basket with dipping sauce. The soups are amazing too, such as the hot and spicy lemongrass soup with shrimp, mushrooms and kefir lime leaves, or try the chicken and coconut soup.

Leng Thai offers lots of options in meat dishes, vegetable dishes, fish and seafood and noodle dishes, so everyone can find their favorite, including mild dishes, spicy ones, and sweet and sour ones. The chef at Leng Thai will happily cook to your liking. Since it is summer, we had the grilled baby back ribs with hoisin sauce and sticky rice and it was finger-licking good, with tender meat that slid off the bone ($16). Try the crispy pork belly sautéed with onion, chili and string beans for a unique and flavorful dish, or the roasted boneless duck with red coconut curry that is so moist and succulent ($17).

Leng Thai serves the freshest fish and seafood and we just loved the steamed jumbo shrimp with glass noodles, mushrooms and fresh ginger. The whole striped bass is cooked in a chili, lime, and garlic sauce, though ginger soy sauce is another option and they’re both delicious spooned over jasmine rice or sticky rice. Another impressive fish dish fresh off the grill is called Talay pan, with three skewers laced with a filet of salmon, grilled jumbo shrimp, plump scallops and either mild ginger sauce or spicy chili garlic sauce, as you prefer ($19). 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.

Leng Thai’s Pad Thai, is a great version of this classic dish, made with rice noodles sautéed with shrimp, egg, peanuts, bean sprouts and scallions. Another popular noodle dish is called Sen mee, made with rice vermicelli, crispy onions, peanuts, and mixed greens in garlic sauce, another meatless option. Most noodle dishes can be adjusted for vegetarians, or conversely, you can add shrimp, beef, or pork to a vegetarian dish if you like.

Try to save room to share some coconut, green tea, or red bean ice cream, mango sticky rice, decadent fried bananas and ice cream, taro custard, or an Asian banana split that is perfect for sharing.

Leng is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Lunch specials are served from 11:30 to3:30, 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 11am to 3pm and includes a fantastic meal with 3 drinks for an incredible $19.99.

Order on-line from Leng Thai’s own website and have their delicious food delivered to your home or office. While the weather is warm, enjoy dining on the patio outside and luxuriate in this exotic cuisine that stimulates all the senses. Sawadee-kah!

33-09 Broadway, Astoria
718.956.7117

www.lengthai.com

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