Phayathai appears to blend into the nondescript Lake Ronkonkoma strip mall it's tucked into, but not once you sample a spoonful of chef-owner Veerawat Satsri's dishes such as his chicken coconut soup.
Phayathai in Lake Ronkonkoma. (Nov. 10, 2012)
Courtney Ensslin and Chris Rezai, both of Stony Brook, peruse the menu at Phayathai. (Nov. 10, 2012)
Phayathai co-owner and chef Verawat Satsri of Lake Ronkonkoma. (Nov. 10, 2012)
Chicken curry is cooked in a wok at Phayathai. (Nov. 10, 2012)
Waiter-host Tirapat Numsinvichiefchai double-checks an order before bringing a plate to the table while assistant chef Jun Kromyai, in the background, works in Phayathai's kitche. (Nov. 10, 2012)
Phayathai(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
Phayathai, Lake Ronkonkoma: Chef-owner Veerawat Satsri cooks with skill and subtlety and will give you the heat level requested. Recommendations: electrifying shrimp hot and sour soup; radna, a comforting main course noodle soup; drunken noodles with chicken; crisp, juicy basil duck; and Penang salmon with chopped shrimp and a coconut curry sauce.
Phayathai's tom kha gai -- chicken coconut soup -- has a sly electric undercurrent all its own. (Nov. 10, 2012)
Penang salmon at Phayathai is a thick, perfectly seared fillet plated over spinach and topped with chopped shrimp and a coconut curry sauce.