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Riding the V Line: Thai Heat and Genius on Elmhurst Avenue

We're riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants along the way. It’s not much of a secret anymore, but it would be madness to get off at Elmhurst Avenue and not eat at Chao Thai, a Thai restaurant nearly as good as Woodside’s legendary Sripraphai.

Zagat 2008 Smiles on Daniel, Gordon Ramsay, Others

New York’s little red book, the 2008 Zagat guide, is out today. It is more significant to the restaurant world than the Michelin guide, and for good reason: The same people who use it are the ones who write it. So what if it’s a popularity contest? Life is a popularity contest. There were some minor shakeups in this year’s rankings, such as Union Square Cafe retaking its sibling Gramercy as most popular restaurant, and Daniel retaking the top spot in cuisine from Le Bernardin. But the more interesting points required a slightly closer look.

Eric Ripert to Feed Reader Who May Lose Sense of Taste

Dear Grub Street,
Next weekend I’m getting surgery done on an impacted wisdom tooth which is growing very close to a central nerve. I’ve been told that if this nerve is damaged, there’s a chance I will lose a large part of feeling in my face – including a loss of my sense of taste. I’ve gone into “doomsday mode”, thinking of all the best flavors this city has to offer in an effort to get them ingrained into my gray memory. As of now I’ve got a reservation at Degustation, will be making at least three visits minimum to Ssäm Bar, and another to Sasabune. Are there maybe two or three dishes or places that should be added to this ever-growing list? Le Bernardin is in my sights of course, but understandably may be difficult to get into.
Facing My Final Hour

Queens Restaurant Week Is Upon Us

Queens Restaurant Week
The idea of Queens Restaurant Week, we maintain, isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds. Sure, the borough is defined by great restaurants that cost next to nothing, so a $20.07 dinner special may not sound worth schlepping to Elmhurst for. But in fact, anything that brings people to Queens is worthwhile; its restaurants are the source material for so much of what is happening in Manhattan, and most chefs, at least privately, will admit that the ethnic kitchens of Bayside and Jackson Heights are usually better than their midtown emulators.

‘New Yorker’ Backs Up the Chowhounds; Sietsema Uncovers a Food Court’s Secrets

The New Yorker discovers Sripraphai, and though baffled by its vast and uneven menu, admits that the chowhounds were right to glorify the place. [NYer] Sietsema provides his readers with a major service this week, guiding them through one of the city’s best and most baffling food courts in the Flushing’s J&L Mall [VV] Rosanjin gets the two-star Bruni treatment in its first review, and seems to only have missed a third star by reason of anticlimactic later courses. Still, an auspicious start. [NYT]

Chowhound Wonders If You've Heard of This So-Called ‘Chinatown’

One of the pleasures of cruising the Chowhound boards is the vicarious thrill of discovery: There's always somebody who just found out about DiFara or Sripraphai or Kebab Cafe. Last week, apropos of nothing, user Brian S. posted a guide to Manhattan Chinatown that includes a basic overview of various regional cookeries. An added bonus is the long, link-rich thread, centering on Chinese bakeries, which follows the post. (We recently essayed the same topic.) If only the Chinatowns in Brooklyn and Queens were given the same treatment. Eating in Chinatown — a beginner's guide [Chowhound]