There's a new best Thai restaurant in town! Okay first let me preface this review by first disclosing my obsession with Thai food, I have been to Thailand over two dozen times and have tried almost every Thai restaurant in New York, My belief is that Thai food should be a cuisine of its own rather than being relegated to a subset of Asian cuisine.
My favorite Thai restaurant used to be Won Dee Siam (location no.1) on 9th Ave, then it was SriPaiPhai in Woodside, Queens. Both of these have been surpassed by the innovative and creative dishes of Songkran. As another reviewer mentioned, this restaurant is under new management as of March 2014 (but kept the same name so the old legacy reviews remain here in Yelp), and the change is refreshing. In fact the only similarity that this new management shares with their predecessor is the name. The staff is attentive piolite and professional.
Some definite musts are the Mee Krab (or Mae Grob)- a perfect blend of salty, sweet and spicy. Hands down the best I've ever had, and I've tried a lot of krab in mee [sic] life! Pair that with the pillow soft curry puffs and your apps are set.
For entree, I recommend the Sidewalk, which is reminiscent of a dish you can get on the streets of Bangkok - these guys had me at the Mee Krab! If you're brave, I recommend getting this dish "Beef Thai style" - this is not for the faint of heart as it WILL be spicy (you should definitely let the server know your ability to handle spice if you order this. As it normally leaves the kitchen it will burn the taste buds off of most American tongues.
If you're still hungry, and want to try a noodle dish, you must try the Drunk Man Noodles. I had heard that this was a popular dish at Songkran, and was fully prepared to be underwhelmed, but the dish is very tasty. That and the Pad Si Eew (nothing ewwy about this dish) - the level of wok smokiness is masterful.
To wash down this meal, you can not leave without trying the herbal drinks. The Thai iced tea and coffee are authentic and delicious, but the herbal drinks are homemade and truly unique, I understand that this restaurant has an arsenal of different herbal drinks and since it is home brewed, they will feature only one or two per day. I love a place that considers its drinks as carefully as the meal that it goes with.
Like most Thai restaurants, Songkran has a top secret menu of items that you can order but are not listed on the menu (think In-and-Out Burger). The deep fried satay (particularly the beef) is unbelievably tender and once you try it, you may never have grilled satay ever again. Another amazing find is their fried shrimp skins. Sounds knarly, I know, but think shrimp chips with the texture of potato chips. It is not always available so if you ask nicely and you get lucky, you may just score.
Some slight oversights to this restauant are really personal, but I thought I should mention them. First it is my belief that every Thai restaurant should have Lard Na and there is no Lard Na on Songkran's menu (by the way I learned that this restaurant's website is songkrankitchennyc.com where you can see the menu and place orders online for delivery). Second, skip the Tod Mun Pla as it is pedestrian and uneventful. Given the other strengths of this restaurant these two oversights are easily overlooked.
A note about the portion and the value. Cheap is not always the best and the best is not always cheap. I found the portions large and filling and for the quality and care of the food that comes out of their kitchen, it is completely worth it.
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