Saturday I ventured out to Woodside, Queens mecca of Thai food, Sripraphai, only to find when we got there that the restaurant was closed for the holidays until January 15 (my Birthday, btw). No worries, I said to my friends Jeff and Liz, I know of another place that is also good.
Zabb Queens is about five blocks down Roosevelt Ave from Sripraphai and specializes in food from Isaan, the Northern region of Thailand. I’m told the food is a lot like that of Laos, but I as I’ve never eaten it I wouldn’t know. But I can tell you Zabb is very, very good. From what I can gather, Isaan food is big on salads — though their definition of which differs from the English one. Most are meat or fish based, tossed with onion, garlic, cilantro, chiles and lime, with little or no greens. At least four pages of the extensive menu is dedicated to salads.
They are also big on soups — enourmous ones with lots of offal (though we had a Tom Yam with chicken and "young ginger," very good). Everything we had was good, but particularly so was a crispy duck salad, a bbq beef salad, and a pork leg with chile sauce, so tender it was falling off the bone.
While there, we ran into Ganda from Eat Drink One Woman who had the same dilemma. I’ll just direct you to her thorough report on her meal. Unlike me, she actually speaks with authority on Thai food.
Despite our reasons for going, Zabb really should be considered as a destination of its own, not just a backup plan when Sripraphai is closed.
More reviews: Village Voice, New York Times, Mouthfuls
218 Roosevelt Ave.
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Open Daily: 5:00PM – 2:00AM
Unlike Sripraphai, Zabb is still BYOB. It should be noted that the real menu is about four times as long as the one found on the Zabb Website.
I finally tried Sripaphai for the first time in the last week of December. It was fantastic, but like you, I'm no authority on Thai food and it was the first "authentic" Thai food I've ever had. I had the drunken noodles. I've also been meaning to check out Zabb since I saw the review in the Village Voice a few weeks ago.
On a related note, I ate at Pho Grand for the first time a few days ago. Thanks so much for recommending this place in an earlier post. It was amazing and definitely the best Vietnamese I've ever had. I had the spring rolls and beef cubes with fried rice. My friend has the squid, which wasn't quite AS good, but delicious nonetheless.