Twenty-one years ago in Queens, Sripraphai Thai Restaurant opened with six tables jammed into a space the size of a studio apartment. Two or three waiters threaded in between chairs with dishes piled high. Some people didn't think much of the restaurant. It didn't take credit cards or have a liquor license. The restaurant sat under the elevated subway in Woodside. These factors alone would suggest the business was doomed. But through the dedication of owner Sripraphai and an authentic menu, the restaurant thrived even through a sluggish economy.
Sripraphai's Whole Red Snapper with Sweet Chillies
Now renovated and expanded, Sripraphai includes two large dining areas, flat screen TVs, a garden, and full bar. Credit cards are still not accepted. But that doesn't seem to hinder guests. Early dinners are a wise decision, because after 6pm, a queue begins to form on the sidewalk. People are patient, comprised of both Thai patrons from the tri-state area and local residents. Families from New Jersey have been known to cross two bridges just for the rice noodle soup.
A Crowd Willingly Waits for Dinner Tables. Come Early!
Once Sriprapai had plastic-top tables and non-descript chairs clustered together. Now, the space is artfully decorated with hard wood flooring, modern bathrooms, and a stonewall. A small fountain is the centerpiece of the rear garden, a great place to walk small children too fidgety to sit through an entire meal.
The Menu Boasting an extensive menu, Sripraphai prepares Thai classics including shrimp pad Thai, chicken satay, and mangoes with coconut sticky rice.
For a culinary adventure, try some of these:
From the appetizer list: Papaya Salad with Dried Shrimp: Green papaya shredded and tossed with lime, herbs, and fish sauce Fried Soft Shell Crab (seasonal) with green mango garnish Fried Fish Cakes: a mélange of fresh fish and herbs, fried and served with cucumber garnish
From the Entrees: Massaman Curry: a peanut-based coconut curry with potatoes, served with rice and your choice of meat Whole Red Snapper fried to crispy crunch and finished with a Red Chili Sauce
~Pad-See-Ew: Broad rice noodles stir-fired with veggies and your choice of meat
From the Drink Menu:
~Singh and Chang Beer
~Thai Iced Tea
~Wine & Liquor
It doesn't matter whether you've eaten in 5-star restaurants that serve haute cuisine or have spent 3 weeks in a Chiang Mai cooking school. Sripraphai serves Thai food the traditional way, like your Thai grandma or Khun Yai used to make it. But here, someone else does the dishes.