85-03 Whitney Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens
Any restaurant rumored to rival Woodside darling Sripraphai is enticing to me and Chao Thai in Elmhurst (just a block from the excellent Indonesian hole in the wall Minangasli) is often mentioned in the same discussions, often called Queens best Thai food. It’s a tiny spot, we lucked out with timing to grab a table, several people after us waiting outside for the eight or so tables to finish up.
The staff is friendly and local groups of teens seem to love the place. We started our meal on a very high note. An order of crispy scallion pancake/dumplings (there is surely an actual name for these but I can’t find it) was absolutely incredible. I’ve had the crisp outside – chewy inside appetizer before but never so delicious. It comes with a sticky sweet soy sauce and should be a must on your visit.
For my main dish I ordered one of my favorite foods, Larb. It’s listed as an appetizer but with a lovely hunk of sticky rice, it’s more than enough for a main dish. Nicely balanced between flavors it was a great rendition of the dish. Jim opted for one of his staple orders, Massaman Curry with Beef and was equally pleased.
Chao is BYOB and Sietsema is a fan.
But what do you think?