Thai USA Takes The Exotic Out Of Thai
By Rosie, Pete &
There was a time when Thai food was hard
to find — at least in these parts – and considered
to be one of the more exotic dining experiences.
Well, it still remains on the exotic side for American palates,
but the folks at Huntington’s Thai USA have made the
experience as comfortable as dining at home. This small restaurant
is unpretentious, if not eccentric, in both décor and
attitude. A single dining room with 18 or so tables is livened
up with a few touches of the east – Buddha smiles knowingly
at the far end of the room, and a few decorative objects clue
one in that there’s Thai on the menu. Perhaps the most
telling touch, however, is the curtained, closet-sized area
filled with toys and playthings to keep young diners entertained.
Thai USA makes a point of welcoming families with young children,
and on any given night the folks at the next table could be
a couple on a date, a family with young children, or even
a pair of senior citizens. In fact, on a recent Thursday night
visit, a first date sat at the table next door, while the
table behind us included three generations of women.
The menu is likewise welcoming, despite the exotic flavors
and unexpected combinations. Specials are listed on a blackboard
and unlike many Asian restaurants, it is not overwhelming.
There are a few soups, three salads and a half-dozen appetizers
to start, and no more than two dozen entrees, including those
on the specials board.
Descriptions are simple, and as “Anglicized” as
possible, and to make things still easier, large symbols to
the left of each denote dishes as chicken, seafood, beef,
vegetarian, and so on.
A benchmark dish for any eastern restaurant, Chicken Satay
($5.50) is a tasty starter featuring tender strips of meat
in a pool of peanut dipping sauce and served with a refreshing
cucumber salad. The Blackened Tuna ($8.50) is almost obligatory
on Asian menus these days. This fresh tuna is coated in spices
and served with wasabi and Spicy Thai sauce.
Our favorite starter was the Paw Pia Sod ($5), a light and
refreshing hand roll combining shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu
and scallion wrapped in a rice “paper” roll, stacked
with slices of oversized radishes, and brushed with plum sauce.
Delightfully light and cool, it is a visual treat as well.
Entrees were a tougher choice. We were tempted by the Sea
Bass in Tamarind Sauce ($18.50) from the specials menu, but
with Pia Tamarind on the regular menu ($15), featuring catfish
or salmon filet, we were assured that we’ll always be
able to find a seafood entree with this delicious spicy sauce.
So we set our sights on other entrees.
Seafood Curry ($15) was a a warming, broth of red curry and
coconut, swimming with chunks of salmon, tuna, shrimp and
scallops and served with rice. An excellent choice for spice
The beef lover among our trio went with the Pad Se-ew
($10.50), a hearty stir-fry of beef slices with broccoli and
The star of the night was the Moo-Yum ($14) off the specials
menu, a citrusy and fruity combo of grilled, marinated pork
loin with fresh ginger, oranges slices, tomato, cashew nuts
and lime sauce. We don’t know what “yum”
means in Thailand, but Moo-Yum was yummy.
We were tempted to try what we hear is the house specialty
— Roasted Duck. The Ped Op Krop ($18.50) — crisp
boneless duck with purple plum, chili and a mint ginger sauce
– is from the regular menu, while the specials board
listed a Roast Duckling Curry ($16) with fresh pineapple,
tomato and veggies.
Service was sincere — if harried – and Thai USA
rates high on our all important comfort level. We’ll
return, and we’ll recommend it.
273 New York Avenue
(631) 427-8464Cuisine: Thai
Atmosphere: Casual / kid friendly
Prince range: Moderate
Lunch Wed. through
Friday from noon;
Dinner from 5 p.m. / Tues.