What do the Complex editors do when they're not serving you with endless hours of entertainment? My Spot takes you inside some of their favorite destinations, both in the 'hood and around the globe.
From the new skate park underneath the Triborough Bridge to the Bohemian Beer Garden, Astoria, Queens is one of New York's slept on neighborhood gems. Now you can add Thai Pavilion to the reasons to hit up northeast Queens. Located across the street from the infamous Italian catering hall Riccardo's, the Zagat-rated Thai Pavilion is the spot Complex staffer Frederick Marfil (@frederickmarfil) hits up when he's looking for 5-star food at a 2-star price. In addition to a wide-ranging menu (complete with a spice chart) that blends old-school culinary techniques with American and French influences, the Thai Pavilion also features a fully loaded bar and outdoor seating. But why take our word for it? It's Erik's spot, let him explain.
<!--more--> The restaurant's a family legacy—co-owners Sam and Jirawat Arjariywat started it because of their passion for their mom's authentic Thai cooking. Ma dukes, Valee, (who opened the first location on 30th Avenue and 37th Street) passed down her perfectionism and the recipe for a secret sauce, while pops, Sophon, contributed French techniques he picked up working at the 4 Seasons Restaurant. With all that thrown in the mix, the Thai Pavilion consistently lives up to the Buddhist saying "The more you give, the more you get."
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
• Happy Hour from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. $5 beers, wine, and well cocktails.
• The first (and only) Thai restaurant in the city to carry a top secret wine cultivated from waters from a monsoon.
• All entrees are made from scratch. No shortcuts here.
• This spot is dirt cheap and offers an authentic taste of Thailand.
• Lunch Specials from noon-4 p.m. for $8
• Staff is pretty chill and don't bite.
WHAT TO ORDER:
Steamed Thai dumplings
• Stuffed with finely grounded chicken, peanuts, and preserved radish, sprinkled with crispy shallots. ($6)
Shrimp in a blanket
• Fried shrimp individually wrapped in egg roll skin, stuffed with grounded pork and served with spicy plum sauce. Shit is fried. Can't beat that. ($7)
• Steamed fresh mussel with Thai fine herbs and lemongrass, served with spicy lemon sauce. The clear broth is mad tasty and a great remedy when you're sick. ($8)
Chicken or beef satay
• Grilled chicken or beef skewers marinated with Thai herbs, served with peanut sauce and cucumber salad. BBQ on a stick! ($8)
Pad Thai (Chicken, shrimp, or vegetable)
• Stir-fried rice noodles with bean curd, ground peanuts, egg and bean sprouts. A signature dish that tops any Thai restaurant in NYC. Spice who? ($9)
• Grilled and marinated Australian lamb chops with spicy basil sauce. ($20)
• Thinly sliced marinated beef with Thai herbs and sesame oil, served with spicy fried rice and pickled ginger. ($15)
Thai Pavilion Duck
• Roast half duck topped with vegetables and basil leaves sauce. This crispy boneless duck is baked then fried. A definite must-have! ($18)
Pla lad prig
• Fried whole bass topped with garlic, chili pepper, and mushrooms in tamarind sauce. ($20)
• Pan-fried Chilean seabass topped with garlic, chili pepper, and mushrooms in tamarind sauce. Boneless and succulent. ($25)
The Grand Finale Dessert
• Apple fritters with vanilla sauce, fried bananas with raspberry sauce, homemade lychee ice cream. Need I say more? ($9)
23-92 21st St. (between 23rd Terrace + 24th Ave.)
Astoria, NY 11102
(718) 274-2088 Open Daily from noon - 10 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays
37-10 30th Ave. (between 37th + 38th St.)
Astoria, NY 11103
What's your spot? Hit us at @ComplexMag and let us know by using the hashtag #myspot.