There’s been such a renaissance of Thai cuisine in Queens that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of the players. Which is why I’m very glad my friend Connie asked me to lunch at Mamu Thai. I’ve been meanng to try the Astoria eatery, which got its start as a noodle truck for at least six months. We ate enough for a small army of Thai truckers that humid afternoon, but there are two dishes that stood out:one, a beguiling beef noodle soup, and the other a not-so-simple off-menu omelet.
“Are there mushrooms in this?” I asked of the roat det ($10.50), a long-cooked beef noodle soup possessed of an incredible depth of flavor. The chef assured me there were none. Connie says it’s one of her favorite dishes there, and I can easily see why. Tender slices of beef, rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, garlic oil, and house-made pork rinds make for one of the most comforting bowls of Thai soup I’ve had in a long time.
“This one isn’t on the menu,” the chef said as he plopped down a golden disc studded with bits of greenery. “Well the larb gai is,” he said of the mixture of spicy ground chicken mixed with shallots, fresh lime juice, and toasted rice. When transformed into an omelet the result is crunchy, spicy Thai comfort food of the highest order.
The restaurant is named for the owner’s mother, so it’s especially fitting that my two favorite dishes fall squarely in the canon of soulful Thai home cooking.
Mamu Thai Noodle, 36-02 36th Ave, Astoria 718-707-0407