735 Hawkins Ave, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA
www.phayathai-li.net - (631) 981-0303
Phayathai Restaurant Lake Ronkonkoma Reviews
If this is authentic, remind me never to visit Thailand Aug 12, 2014
Phayathai has been around for seemingly forever. I'd always seen it in passing since I moved to the area about 10 years ago, but as it was in a location inconvenient for me to just stop on the way somewhere... it was the kind of place that reminded me of its existence whenever I drove by, yet somehow I never got around to making a special trip there.
Fast forward to about a year ago when my family and I moved to an area quite close to the restaurant and if I chose a certain route home from work I'd pass by. I had heard over the years from quite a few people that Phayathai was supposed to be pretty good. Authentic. Etc. So I went with my mom and younger son for an impromptu lunch on a Tuesday afternoon.
The atmosphere is nice, loads of dark wood which is typical for a Thai place. I didn't like the fact that they do not have a full bar, rather where the bar should be they have a little reception/office area with a telephone, paperwork, supplies. They did have a couple of bottled beers as well as the usual teas and sodas.
Prices are average for entrees, nothing I saw breaking $20 and appetizers range from $5 to $11. We each had a lunch special, which included either a soup or salad. I had the latter; it was almost identical to a typical Japanese side salad (read:iceberg lettuce and a shred of purple cabbage) except the dressing was decidedly more peanutty and decidedly unimpressive. My mother got the soup, which looked like a simple chicken broth with cabbage and glass noodles. Looked good, smelled gross, tasted like nothing.
We got one appetizer, the beef satay. It came with two dipping sauces: one of which was basically corn syrup and rice vinegar with chunks of cucumber sprinkled in it, and a creamy peanut one, quite unremarkable. The meat tasted kind of gamey to me as well.
Entrees were a slightly spicy flat noodle soup with various veggies and beef, which had way too much cornstarch or whatever they use to thicken those kinds of things.
My green curry shrimp fried rice had only 3 shrimp, though they were large. The rice itself had some kick to it but there was no texture. I like my fried rice to have a variety of ingredients, which makes each bite unique. Not at this place, where I really had to force myself to eat most of it just so I wouldn't feel like I had completely wasted my money. Honestly, I made a bangin' ramen dish at home the other day. Chopped up some fresh garlic, ginger, cilantro, mixed it with some store-bought ramen and seasoning packet, and fried it up with some sesame oil and scrambled egg. Delish--and could've fed at least 5 people for the price of one bland and disappointing Phayathai lunch special.
Bathrooms were somewhat dingy and dimly-lit. Service was good and the girl was very pleasant, but there was little she could do to make the overall experience any better.
I've had some pretty crappy Thai in my day, usually prepared by Chinese people masquerading as Thai--and like cheaply made, crappy Chinese food, the Phayathai fare was corn-starchy and tasteless. It appears that cheap crappy ChineseThai is, unfortunately, more common than not; judging by the length of time this establishment has been in business, the clientele clearly has no idea what good Thai (or even Chinese, for that matter) tastes like.
Sadly, I will not be patronizing Phayathai again nor would I recommend it to anyone even just to try. There are simply far too many other, better options out there than to waste your time, money, and tastebuds on this place. The quest for a truly great Thai joint goes on.
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