Sun-Thu, 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-midnight
6 at 28th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
18th St. to 40th St., FDR Dr. to Madison Ave.
Part of the pleasure of good Thai food is the combination of disparate ingredients like coconut, mint root, tamarind, ginger, chili sauce, and basil, which together create complexity in even the simplest dishes. Since opening in Elmhurst in 1978, owners Pok and Wanne Pokpoonpipat have worked hard to build and maintain Jaiya's devoted following. Even as the restaurant has crossed the Queensboro bridge and spread out to other locations, the dishes haven't deviated far from Bangkok-style fare. The restaurant is decorated simply, with a few Thai-style prints and spot-lit carvings of deities and nature scenes on the walls. The glass-covered tablecloths speak to Jaiya's sense of itself as neither overly-snazzy nor lacking refinement. The menu, which is vast and comprehensive, advertises itself as Thai-oriental and, as such, has quite a repertoire of Indian curries, Chinese-style dishes like Hunan Lobster, and of course the signature Pad Thai—a cut above most in town. Dishes marked Jaiya Specials often combine fresh coconut milk with spicier ingredients to create a delicate balance. Diners should be advised that the curry dishes, particularly the Thai curries, can veer toward red-faced, smoke-out-of-ears spicy. For those on a date, there’s an idiosyncratic, semi-private eating space for two off to the side that provides a measure of privacy.Recommended Dishes
Frog's legs with chili and basil leaves, $18.95; beef musmun, $15.95; crab with Indian curry, $20.95; Jaiya special baked shrimp, $15.95