Most days, Jitlada Soipetch and Janpen Nixon drive to the Island from New Jersey for work. Suphacheap Hongsakul and Sawangchit Chankaeo drive in from Queens. The destination is the same for all four friends: a former pizza place in Hewlett that the quartet, all old friends, have converted into Thai Chic Bistro, which opened in June.
“What makes this place special?” I asked.
Soipetch and Chankaeo backed away from my outdoor table and conferred. A minute or so went by, then another.
“We recommend the crispy half chicken,” said Soipetch. “It is very popular.” Price: $16.95.
"The salmon basil fried rice is very popular too,” added Chankaeo. Price: $14.95.
By that time I’d already ordered the drunken noodles with shrimp ($13.95), a nice rendition of that dish, and the popular appetizer known as money bags ($7.95), in which bits of chicken, corn and other vegetables are tied inside small wonton sacs, deep-fried and served with a plum sauce. Also good.
My favorite dish, in a surprise, was the mango sticky rice. Its rice bluish-hued courtesy butterfly pea, the mango slid gracefully onto the tongue, coconut milk matched sweet with sticky, and the warm dessert proved richly satisfying, even on the hottest of July days.
For now, Thai Chic Bistro’s 73 indoor seats are off-limits pending approval by the town, but a dozen or so are available outside, along with takeout and delivery.
“We have worked together before in Thai restaurants, all of us, but we are happy to now have our own place,” said Soipetch.
Thai Chic Bistro is at 1241-1243 Broadway in Hewlett, 516-569-1705. Open for outdoor seating, takeout and delivery from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.