Poodam’s has reminded me once again of the lameness that is Brooklyn Thai food. Even an unassuming corner spot in that weird part of Astoria not far from the multiplex theater serves better food than any of the attention grabbers in Cobble Hill.
I’m almost certain that I’ve relayed this tale before but it clearly annoyed me enough that it’s still stuck in my craw more than a year after the fact. An extremely volatile, know-it-all former coworker with an MBA (who got fired shortly after I quit of free will) insisted that Joya in my neighborhood served the best Thai food she’d eaten in NYC. And I was like, “You’re nuts” which prompted the oh so sassy, “Have you even been to Thailand?” Uh, yeah I have, and then I thought she was crazier than I already did.
The Issan menu (they spell it e-san but I like it with an I) is what makes Poodam’s unique. When I see Northeastern Thai specialties, I stick to salads over curries.
I tend to imagine Thai sausage as grilled, stiff yet crumbly like this from a random Poodam’s diner. Yet whenever I order a salad with Thai sausage (which has only been twice, the other instance being at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas) the style used is pale and boiled-seeming, more akin to weisswurst or bologna. I don’t mind these soft sliced links but it’s something to remember. Obviously, I enjoyed this rendition with tomatoes, red onions and a tart-hot dressing or else I would’ve remembered to have taken a photo before half of it was gone.
Normally, I prefer my duck a little fatty, crispy skin intact, but it also makes for a rich larb ingredient. Typically, there’s no added fat in a larb preparation (just broth) so a gamier meat than chicken works well. I’ve been known to make healthier larb at home with chicken breasts but that’s not something I’d want to eat in a restaurant.
The fried fish was more Chinesey in flavor though I can’t put my finger on what made it so. Maybe it’s soy instead of fish sauce? I’ve noticed this effect with certain basil and chile preparations. Whole, crispy bass is a treat.
Drunken noodles just because. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t order noodles with a Thai meal because they seem like a distracting thing unto itself.
My Poodam’s review for Nymag.com
Poodam’s * 44-19 Broadway, Astoria, NY