“Let’s go for Thai,” I said to my pal Adrian the other day. “I’ve got a place over on Woodside Avenue,” he said. Never one to trust another’s taste in Thai, I countered with a better place also on Woodside. “Oh, no not that big place, that won’t do,” he said. “No not Sripraphai,” I said. And that’s how we wound up at Thailand’s Center Point where I discovered something called Over the Rainbow ($13.95).
It had been months since I’d visited Aom “Annie” Phinphatthakul’s cute little spot. And I was eager to see what new creations would be highlighted in multicolored chalk on the specials board. And then I saw it: “Over the Rainbow, diced crispy fish with Thai herbs in special spicy lime.”
I am as much a fan of The Wizard of Oz as Chef Annie’s cooking so I ordered the new dish immediately. Soon a gigantic stemmed bowl appeared containing what appeared to be a salad. As in Oz, at TCP things aren’t often what they seem to be. Closer examination revealed it to be no mere salad, but rather a bed of lettuce topped with crunchy pieces of fried fish, teeny wedges of lime; ginger; mint leaves; cashews; and two kinds of hot pepper: dried long chilies and fresh birds-eye. A beguiling spicy lime sauce with plenty of fishy funk sat in the bottom of the goblet.
It was one of the best Thai salads I’ve had in a long time,perfect for a summer day. Along with a stellar crab meat fried rice ($10) and my pal’s whimsically named special, Hello Bangkok—river prawns with curry sauce ($19.95)—it reminded me why I love TCP so much. As I munched on a sweet prawn I couldn’t help, but think “We’re not in Woodside anymore.”
Thailand’s Center Point, 63-19 39th Avenue, Woodside, 718-651-6888