SriPraPhai

280 Hillside Ave. Williston Park, NY 516-280-3779

Tasty dishes at SriPraPhai in Williston Park include

(Credit: Kirsten Luce)

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Critic rating: 2.5

User rating:
4
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Type: Thai, Vegetarian Special features: Kid friendly Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:
A branch of the Woodside Thai restaurant regarded by food cognoscenti as the metro area’s sine qua non has opened in Williston Park, its authenticity intact. Here, sweetness is balanced by heat, saltiness and sourness, as it should be. Try whatever sounds unfamiliar and you’re sure to be rewarded. One recommendation: larb, a compelling blend of ground pork, mint, chili and lime juice.
Hours: Thu.-Tue., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wed., closed Ambience: Very Good Service: Very Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Diners enjoy Thai food at SriPraPhai Restaurant in

Diners enjoy Thai food at SriPraPhai Restaurant in Williston Park. (Nov. 14, 2009) (Credit: Kirsten Luce)

2.5

A branch of the Woodside Thai restaurant revered as tops by the metro area's food cognoscenti is now serving its tom-zap and gai-kua noodles in Williston Park.

The new SriPraPhai is a handsome spot with a clean, contemporary look in a springlike green. Prices are amazingly low, the level of spicing true: hot is mouth-searing, medium is palate-tingling, mild is mild.

YES, YES

How adroitly the kitchen balances the hot, salty, sour and sweet. Case in point: larb, a blend of ground pork with mint, chili and lime that explodes across the tongue. (A cool glass of milky-sweet Thai iced tea will soothe it nicely).

The same trinity of chili, lime and mint sparks BBQ pork tenders dusted with spices. A standout is the multitextured salad of crispy Chinese watercress with chicken, shrimp and squid. I also like how the fruity, sweet papaya salad with dry shrimp and peanuts is shot through with saltiness, crunch and fire.

At lunch, I'm enamored of a beef noodle soup with rich dark broth made with beef blood, meatballs, beef liver and tripe (available before 5 p.m. only). Tom-zap with Cornish hen is a compelling hot-and-sour bowlful (careful of the tiny bones); stewed beef tendon soup, fragrant and soothing.

Both drunken noodles with ground chicken and gai-kua noodles with chicken and squid offer comfort with kick. And crisp-skinned barbecued chicken is beautifully spiced, juicy. For home-style satisfaction, there's softly stewed beef over rice.

AND YET . . .

While there's zing and color in a green curry with beef, I'm waiting for nuances that don't materialize. A fire-eater at our table asks the waitress what the spiciest dish is. She suggests "southern" curry, which we get with pork. Lots of heat but no complexity. I find the tom kha gai (chicken coconut lime soup) overpoweringly sweet.

Did I go on the wrong days?

BOTTOM LINE

No doubt, this is the genuine Thai article. Yet when a place attains legendary status, expectations can outpace reality. Based on what I've eaten, I see almost (but not quite yet) three stars.

SriPraPhai is located at 280 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, 516-280-3779, sripraphairestaurant.com

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SriPraPhai 280 Hillside Ave., Williston Park

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