Saturday, August 30, 2008

Where the noodles come in pink: Zabb Thai

While wandering around Astoria looking for a place to eat, TL and I passed by Zabb Thai, which had taken over the space that used to be Thai Angel. The weather was fine and a street fair was going on, but TL had eaten at Zabb once or twice before and I was always game for a good dish of noodles. So Thai for lunch it was.

Above: Iced tea for TL, iced coffee for me. Way too sweet but nice and strong.
As I'd never had Thai sour sausage before I tried for the Esan sausage appetizer, but the server came back after we'd ordered to apologetically inform us that they were out of it that day. I then tried to order a different appetizer, which they were also out of. We ended up with a string bean salad though, which was delicious: snappy blanched string beans, ground chicken, chopped peanuts, and a handful of medium-sized shrimp tossed in a sweet, thin coconut milk dressing. The chicken was warm and the salad was cool, a good showcase for all the different textures and flavors. While waiting for our entrees we happily ate every last bean.
I loved the crab fried rice, which was delicately paired with scallions, onions, and egg. I kept turning up big lumps of crabmeat with my fork, which was a surprise at only ten dollars for the dish. I was really into the light flavor and perfect, chewy consistency of each grain.
Pad mee ka tee
Photo by TL

At Thai restaurants noodles are always a must for me, but when we ordered the pad mee ka tee (described as "sautéed rice noodle (angel hair) w. creme coconut milk, bean sprout, bean curd, and chive"), neither of us expected the bright pink mass that was delivered to our table. I still haven't figured out what gave it that particular hue, but the noodles did have a flavor that I couldn't place no matter how many times I took another bite—plum? It was really tasty whatever it was; TL was such a fan he ended up finishing off the plate.

The prices at Zabb are a little higher than the neighborhood average given its portion sizes, but it's certainly still inexpensive and the quality of the food is worth it. There are items on the menu that I don't typically see, and the dishes are clearly fresh and prepared with care. I'm glad it's around!