Pad kee mao, or drunken noodles, at Secret Thai Kitchen...

Pad kee mao, or drunken noodles, at Secret Thai Kitchen in Freeport. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

Long Island is in the midst of a Thai food renaissance, and now another promising spot has popped up on Freeport's Nautical Mile. Secret Thai Kitchen is part of a recent string of regional Thai restaurants that have opened in the past few weeks, including Chili Baby in Miller Place and Thai Station Cafe in Babylon. 

In a space that previously housed Crabshack, Secret Thai Kitchen prepares classic Thai food and specialty dishes from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. The owners, Ahmee Kalamaphichit and his mother Noki Levy, had previously operated a steam table spot Secret Thai Street Food that was tucked into the back of a Latin market on Steinway Street in Astoria. The hidden gem had a loyal following for its uncompromisingly spicy dishes, and big and bubbly Thai chicken wings. A rent hike prompted a decamp to Freeport, where they opened just three weeks after their last service in Astoria. 

“We looked around the area in Queens and Brooklyn, then we randomly they landed on the Crabshack,” he said. “The owner was selling it … we felt like it was the perfect fit for us to move onto the next level.” 

Secret Thai Kitchen has opened on Freeport's Nautical Mile.

Secret Thai Kitchen has opened on Freeport's Nautical Mile. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

Their new space is larger and includes a full bar and patio, but retains many of the flourishes leftover from the Crabshack, including drawings of crabs and other sea life that grace the ceiling panels.

The menu includes hard-to-find dishes like the intensely fishy Laotian papaya salad and Hainanese chicken rice, known as khao man gai in Thailand. You can order it poached ($16.95), fried ($18.95) or in a combo ($24.95). The menu also boasts a dish called Yum Nam Khao Tod ($24.95), a crispy rice salad with soured pork, ginger and red onions.

Also of note: a ground chicken larb salad ($24.95) steeped in fish sauce and punchy lime juice. More restaurants than ever are serving this regional dish from Laos and Northeastern Thailand, but Secret Thai Kitchen's has a nuttier flavor because it's tossed in toasted rice powder. The server-recommend pad kee mao or drunken noodles, was wickedly spicy and addicting with its wispy stir-fried flat noodles. But the red curry with duck ($29.95) was the star, as it featured some of the most succulent pieces of fowl I've ever had at a Thai restaurant. 

Secret Thai Kitchen, 150 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport, 516-868-6198, Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, noon to 10 p.m. Thursday through Monday, closed Tuesday. 

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