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Thai Place - Northeastern/Isaan cuisine in Allston

Just a block over from S&I is another notable tiny Thai restaurant featuring regional cuisine with an emphasis from the Northeast/Isaan region where the chef-owner is from.

As is often the case, there are dueling menus. The Thai menu is posted on their website but they were quick to point out that it is not always up-to-date - http://www.thaiplaceboston-ma.com. With their help, I took a quick stab at translating (below) the Thai menu they had on-hand but would greatly appreciate additional detail and/or corrections. I didn't include all the fine details and ingredients of each dish, but they should be pretty easily googlable.

I sampled their som tam poo bplaa raa - papaya salad with fermented crab and fermented (rotten) fish paste - and it was tops. Fiery, funky, stanky, and just a touch of tang and sweetness to round it out, there could not possibly be enough sticky rice for this dish.

Ko moo yang - grilled marinated pork neck - is another dish worth ordering, hard not to like fatty grilled pieces of pork. Could have used a tad more char but otherwise mighty tasty.

Kaeng pah (Isaan-style jungle curry) was not your run-of-the-mill jungle boogie curry. It came packed full of the spicy sour complexities of these northeastern curry-soups and is a perfectly light veggie-laden soup to sweat out the rest of summer.

I'm sure it will be tough to walk past S&I for many, but I hope folks do go exploring through the menu at Thai Place because I think there's room for both to coexist.

Thai Place
184 Brighton Ave
617.782.5782

MENU TRANSLATION:

Som Tam
- som tam thai
- som tam poo (w/ fermented crab
)- som tam poo bplaa raa (w/ fermented crab + fermented fish paste)
- som tam sua (fermented crab + fermented fish paste + thin noodles/khanom jeen)
- som tam goong sod (w/ shrimp)
- som tam moo krob (w/ crispy pork)

Khao Phat (fried rice)
- khao phat moo/gai (pork/chicken)
- khao phat poo/goong (fermented crab/shrimp)
- khao phat krapow moo krob (w/ thai basil + crispy pork)
- khao phat man goong (w/ shrimp + shrimp 'fat')
- khao phat naem (w/ sour pork sausage)
- khao phat kun chiang (w/ chinese sausage)
- khao phat kaeng bplaa kem (w/ curry paste + salted fish)
- khao phat talay (w/ mixed seafood)
- khao phat khiao wan (w/ green curry)

Snacks/Salads
- moo ping (grilled pork skewers)
- gai yang (grilled chicken)
- ko moo yang (grilled pork neck)
- moo dad deaw (thai pork jerky)
- soop nar mai (bamboo shoot salad)
- laap moo/gai (pork/chicken)
- laap bplaa dook (catfish)
- laap moo krob (pork belly)
- nam tok moo/neua (pork/beef salad)
- nam tok ko moo yang (pork neck salad)

Soups
- tom saab kra dook moo (issan-style spicy sour pork rib soup)
- tom saab en toon (issan-style spicy sour soup)
- po tak talay (spicy sour seafood soup)
- tom yam goong sod (spicy sour soup w/ shrimp)
- tom saab moo/gai (spicy soup with pork/chicken)
- tom jued tao hoo moo saab (mild pork broth soup with pork meatballs and veggies)
- kaeng pa moo/gai/neua (issan-style jungle curry with pork/chicken/beef)
- kaeng om moo/gai (issan-style soup/curry with fermented fish paste, herbs with pork/chicken)

Other Salads
- yum woon sen (glass noodle salad)
- yum mama (instant noodle salad)
- yum moo yaw (pork sausage salad)
- moo manao (spicy pork + lime salad)
- yum ruam mit (seafood salad)

Rice Plates
- khao kha moo yang (braised pork neck over rice)
- khao khluk kapi (rice fried with shrimp paste)
- khao man gai tod (fried chicken + rice)
- khao kana moo krob (chinese broccoli + crispy pork belly)
- khao phat krapow moo krob (thai basil + crispy pork belly)
- khao phat krapow moo krob phat phet (as above + spicy)
- khao moo tod kratiem (with fried pork + garlic)
- khao rad krapow (thai basil w/ chicken/pork/seafood/catfish)
- khao rad krapow tod (thai basil + fried chicken)
- khao phat krapow gai yeaw maa (thai basil + century egg)
- khao phat prik khing moo krob (w/ curry paste + crispy pork)
- khao phat phet blaa dook (w/ curry paste + crispy catfish)

Without rice
- peek kai tod (thai fried chicken wings)
- kaew tod (fried pastry filled with minced pork)
- goong tod kratiem (shrimp fried with garlic)
- phat kana bplaa kem (salted fish + chinese broccoli)
- goong chae nam bplaa (lime marinated raw shrimp)
- bplaa rad phrik (fried whole fish w/ chili sauce)
- bplaa neung manao (steamed whole fish)

Noodles
- phat see ew (chicken or pork)
- phat kee mow (chicken or pork)
- udon kee mow talay (sauteed udon w/ seafood)
- kway teow tom yum moo (pork boat noodle soup)
- kuay teow phet nam (duck noodle soup)
- rat na (chicken or pork)

Aug 27, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area
2

New Chef Chang on Mass. Ave.

This reflects the theme of the conversation I had with the owner yesterday who emphasized that the dishes on the menu may be familiar but they are preparing them slightly differently than what we may be accustomed to around town.

I'm having a bowl of fuqi fei pian for breakfast as I type this and it is good. Very lightly dressed but still enough slick and a creeping hit of ma la (very fresh peppercorns).

Aug 20, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Biryani Park is Coming Back (I Hope!)

Same space as C&W and will be called Suvai (Tamil for yummy). I for one can't wait to have them back !

Aug 18, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area
1

Fave Asian dish featuring crab in the area?

Penang has had both chili crab and pepper crab for as long as I can remember, but the online menu currently does not make mention of either. Hopefully it's still available, perhaps with some advance notice, because it was our only source (and pretty good).

Bubor Cha Cha had a righteous dungeness crab casserole dish with xo saucy sticky rice but, again, I'm not seeing it right now on the online menu.

The simple live Alaskan King preps like RoyRon mentions below are always a delight, despite the pricetag.

Aug 07, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Boston Jerk Fest (June 28) South End

That was my feeling. Not cheap or easy to find pimento but I was curious to know if anybody was cooking their jerk with aromatic wood smoke of any kind. All the jerk I get around here is roasted or stewed.

Jun 12, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Boston Jerk Fest (June 28) South End

Presumably this means jerk meats cooked with wood fire.

Matt - who cooks jerk chicken over a wood (pimento) fire in town ? The stewed stuff can be tasty but is an entirely different thang.

Jun 12, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Boston dishes so rich, they will send you to the boneyard.

reminds me of the braised lamb neck that was on an earlier menu at West Bridge - so so sticky

and also the nihari at Darbar is a bellybomb too

a rather marginal bo kho I had that was a completely congealed block of gelatin the next day when pulled from the fridge - mighta been Pho Basil

May 28, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Skate Wing

Hamersley's - "Sautéed Skate with Roasted Beets, Cherry Peppers and Warm Garlicky Potato-Horseradish Skordalia"

Tavern Road - "pan roasted skate wing, apple relish, pumpkin agro dolce"

Clio - "Roasted skate wing, calamansi "BBQ", kai-lan, Thai herbs"

The French brasserie places prepare it the French brasserie brown beurre way.

May 15, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Skate Wing

Also Gaslight, Hamersley's, Tavern Road, Clio (sometimes), and for a different prep Neptune uses skate for their Weds fish & chips special to very good effect.

May 14, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

ISO chopped steak

This is a great suggestion and a reminder of a place that I've long forgotten. Not a huge fan of their sauces but, like kare raisu, I do crave it about once a year.

May 06, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Best Beef Chowfun in Boston Chinatown?

In addition to BLR & China King, Winsor and Penang also know their way around the wok altho it's a bit like bbq in the variability of smoke factor on any given visit, with Penang being the worst culprit ... but when they're on, the wok hei is far & away the best (same applies to char kway teow).

(pictured: china king, penang, winsor)

The Merchant

Popped in for lunch and sat there frowning at the menu for 30 minutes wondering what the heck to order. Incredibly boring menu which my DC described as: "It's a worst hits collection of all the most boring stuff at ESK that nobody orders." I was highly offended by the two tiny burnt slivers of CRUST that accompanied the pate. The bread was totally unusable. I don't know how that even gets plated. And a comically small amount that, even if it actually had been a proper slice (that wasn't burnt), still would not have been sufficient for the portion of pate. This is a general pet peeve of mine when it comes to charcuterie - the bread is always burnt, not enough, slathered in butter, etc. C'mon, this is toast, get it right man. (/rant) The frizzy frisee was so watery we had to send it back. Nice selection of beer which I enjoyed before moving on to a second redeeming lunch.

May 02, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

ISO chopped steak

I bet D-P puts some thought into it, thanks.

Frankly, I'd almost forgotten about this patty obsession until you brought up pojarski !

Apr 29, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

ISO chopped steak

Thanks. There's plenty reason enough for me to get to the WG beyond chopped steak, assuming things are same as they ever were with the new owners.

Apr 29, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

ISO chopped steak

I've been afflicted by a mild obsession with patties lately. Mostly, these have been burgers - beef, tuna, salmon - that I end up ordering sans bun because I want the PATTY. Unadorned by all these burger topping atrocities.

So, y'know, a workingman's (not Hungry-Man) chopped steak with a savory brown gravy. Or a perhaps a slightly precious steak haché with bearnaise, bordelaise, poivre.

I don't even see this on a menu anymore - from Morton's to the Mount Vernon - although I'm sure it can be had with some custom-ordering at a steakhouse (to probably good effect). But I'm looking for a purpose-built chopped steak. Where ?

Apr 28, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Why Yelp is useless (Boston discussion on their "Top 100 places to eat!" article

Even if you don't go that deep into Yelp, there's good value there. There's lotsa pics which can be highly informative. It's a particularly good compass when you're in the dense jungle of an ethnic neighbourhood of another city and haven't done the homework. A quick scan of reviews and pictures, it's easy to pick up on the patterns that tell you where to go for gamjatang and where to go for sundubu. You'd have to slog your way to those answers on CH but would probably be rewarded with a more informed strategy.

Apr 23, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Ain't nothin' but a ghee thing, baby!

Hankering for hawker grub, I'm curious to revisit Punjabi Dhaba's snacks and chaats. For a "roadside cafe" I wonder if they're as good as RKR's, which are quite good.

Apr 07, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

What is a traditionally odd, spicy and delicious thing to order at a Sichuan restaurant?

A good way to start any Sichuan meal is with fuqi fei pian - sliced beef (shank) and beef offal (tripe, tendon) in chile oil garnished with crushed peanuts and cilantro.

(New Shanghai's pictured below)

Will Someone Plse Bring the Jibarito to Boston?! Why Should Chicago Have All the Yums?

Correct. It is a menu fixture - a coupla weeks ago, the owner told me it's become the most popular item.

Overstuffed jibarito and jibarita below.

Mar 24, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Merrill & Co.

When dishes are somewhere between app & entree, intended to be shared, the shotgun approach does seem increasingly reasonable. Perhaps I'm a precious pansy but when it comes to raw oysters (which I like to have a little splash of gin with) I think it's a bit crass to crassostrea to chuck em in the midst of other darker, dirtier flavours.

Mar 17, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Has Sichuan Garden in Woburn gotten even better?

There are preps of bamboo shoots across SE-Asia that I often find more challenging than stinky tofu. Sometimes they're dried bamboo shoots that, when reconstituted, really express a funky musty odor. Similar to certain dried chiles or mushrooms (reconstituting chile pasados this past weekend made for helluva stanky valentines). There are also pickled bamboo shoots, like 'sup nor mai' (Issan style salad), which I don't even really order much because it's usually too much funkenstank.

Feb 17, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Chicago Beef Sandwiches and Giardiniera in Boston?

Oh sure. Like NYC pizza. Most of the beefs in Chicago are unsuitable for consumption. Same could be said for clam chowder here. Nothing to get excited about a gluey white bowl of chowdah in Des Moines, just because it's clam chowder. But the WCE dog is a quality dog worth seeking out, comparable to tier 2 dog in Chicago like, say, Portillo's.

Jan 13, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Chicago Beef Sandwiches and Giardiniera in Boston?

I don't see giard around many places here beyond the occasional gourmet grocer/specialty food stores. Best bet is to order it online.

Windy City Eats uses Vienna giard and mostly all Vienna products (and Boar's Head). The dog is quite good, and the polish not bad either, but the beef is dunked in dishwater and is quite a sad sandwich.

Jan 11, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Some Ting Nice, is it?

Lorenz patties, which I find plausibly home-made, pictured below:

Nov 23, 2013
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Papaya salad...favorites

Much easier eating with your hands and sticky rice, or just a spoon.

S&I has a nice rendition, though I actually prefer Pad Thai Cafe's - their prik nam plaa is exceptional (still haven't figured out what they do differently), the som tam incendiary, and just strikes the right balance consistently.

Thai North also a nice northern version with pounded pickled crabs (pictured below).

Nov 14, 2013
Nab in Greater Boston Area
1

Where to buy cheap chicken fat?

Never buy gribenes from a mohel.

Nov 04, 2013
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Ginger Exchange (Symphony)

They're pretty snappy with the delivery service (my only experiences FWIW) and the super-sized sushi is a good value, as tasty as those b-listers operating above the supermarket sushi grade. Probably a better bet to aim at the fad-foods like Korean fried chicken which was quite good (sauces less so) and baos and noodles which I've yet to try. The bibimbap was sad, the hamachi kama probably great if requested un-glazed.

Oct 22, 2013
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Broasted Chicken Anywhere?

Riverside Pizza & Seafood has a pressure-fryer (not the Broaster brand) and fry up a good bird, albeit occasionally a little underseasoned.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785072

Oct 13, 2013
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Local Heady Topper Source

I'm not sure, I've only drunk HT on site. But they do sell most of what is on the menu in the retail store. Along with a small but thoughtful collection of whiskies (eg, Black Maple, Col EH Taylor).

Oct 03, 2013
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Local Heady Topper Source

Seiyo in the South End across the street from Toro usually has it, but good idea to call to see if they''ve re-upped since I drank their last can a coupla weeks ago.

Seiyo, along with its 'South End sushi' and retail wine store, curiously has an exceptional collection of high craft beers. They often have the other highly sought after east coast IPA, Lunch, as well as west coast Pliny seasonally (should be coming soon), but the 40+ list of beers (no taps) goes far beyond and includes an excellent selection of sours, Belgians, saisons, Japanese beers, and limited release collaborations. With Parish Cafe, Estelle's, and Five Horsies, that part of the hood has become a good stompin ground for the beer geeks.

Oct 03, 2013
Nab in Greater Boston Area