Chaw muang rice flour dumplings stuffed with ground chicken and...

Chaw muang rice flour dumplings stuffed with ground chicken and flavored with beets at JaydSiri Thai Bistro in Great Neck. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

The best meals at JaydSiri start with a bouquet of dumplings. The owner, a truly skilled tweezer artist, shapes the dainty bulbs into rose petals tinted with pink beet juice. The steamed rice flour dough leads to a savory center of minced chicken, garlic and shallots. A dish for the romantics, chaw muang draws its history from 19th century Thai royalty, often found in Bangkok dessert houses flavored with sweet coconut milk. 

Here in Great Neck, it's a delightful little nibble that gets you set up for a blowout meal of regional Thai cooking. Owner Sirikanya Suworrapan prepares a robust selection of Isan dishes from the Northeastern region of Thailand. Originally from Nong Khai near the Laotian border, she had been on-and-off involved with Krungtep Thai Bistro since 2014, and decided to buy out her previous partner and change the concept to JaydSiri on New Year's Eve. Hyper-focused on quality, it takes her a full day to make the dumplings, so labor intensive she's considering turning them into a weekly special. 

It's only starting to get popular in the United States, but Isan is a rural heartland of Thai cuisine, known across Bangkok for its spicy papaya salads and pungent minced pork larb. The region isn't big on curries, but more for grilled meats and bright and herbal salads that sing with sweet and spice. Stir fries of steak in fragrant lemongrass, and duck basil kraprao are highlights of the house specials menu here. (But don't worry, there's pad thai and familiar favorites too, as well as an economical lunch special.) The servers will help you find the Isan dishes, taking pains to explain the various ingredients and preparation techniques.

An herbal soup from the Isan region, Gang Ohm is...

An herbal soup from the Isan region, Gang Ohm is presented here as a vegetarian offering with fresh kabocha squash and mushrooms in a light lemongrass broth. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

One of their favorites was sold out that day, a slow-braised pork leg dish palo ($24) stewed in an herbal five spice sauce with hard boiled eggs and Chinese broccoli. Instead, the staff recommended a light soup from the vegetarian section of the menu. Gang ohm ($18) is an artfully arranged medley of fried tofu and vegetables in a clarified broth flavored with fresh dill. The soup didn't have a zing like a tom yum, but what it lacked in oomph it made up for in refinement, the carrots crisp and the kabocha squash hearty. 

For the crescendo, the kitchen produced the Thai Ocean ($28), a sizzling stir fry of ringed calamari, plump shrimp and crispy battered fish with onions and red bell pepper. In Thailand it's pad cha, named for the bursting sound the ingredients make as they hit the hot wok. The dish screamed with spice and sourness. The seafood was plump and bright, even a bit floral after being tossed with bundles of fresh green peppercorns, a hallmark of the best regional Thai restaurants.

Thai Ocean is a spicy stiry fry of seafood done...

Thai Ocean is a spicy stiry fry of seafood done pad cha style at JaydSiri Thai Bistro in Great Neck. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

For dessert, the servers insisted on the brownie, not overtly Thai in any way at all, but cooled down all that rising heat with its rich chocolate hug. Masterful.   

JaydSiri, 23 S. Middle Neck Road, Great Neck. Open 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. 516-696-3654, jaydsirithaibistro.com

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