Some restaurants, even good ones, like to flirt with Northern Thai menus and provide the cuisine of Chiang Mai here in New York. Usually they don't do it quite right, with dishes like khao soy and nam prik ong being too sweet or not fiery enough, respectively. The ingredients necessary to make these northern dishes are harder to come by and their substitutions really matter. Chiang Mai Restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn did things the right way, but is still trying to open in a permanent space.
Enter Thai Diva Cuisine, about two weeks old in Sunnyside, Queens. We visited last Tuesday night and spoke at length with the the staff here, who speak Northern Thai language to each other, always a good sign. We were told the head chef is only working during the weekday lunches and every other weekend, so the evening chef is an apprentice of sorts. A very capable one though, as we sent in an order for six, basically asking for everything from the two pages of "Northern Thai Style" items that are outside of the restaurant's official, but typical menu.
We plan to return for lunch soon and see what the differences are, but already the food is worth coming here for. Here are our selections from that evening:
Larb muang ($9)
Khanom jeen nam ngiao ($11)
Moo ping ($6)
Naem moo ($8)
Nam prik ong ($7)
Nam prik noom ($7)
Khao soi ($12)
Tum kanoon ($9)
This tiny place will certainly be on every radar imaginable soon, so go get your seats before there are no seats to be had. Hungry City will take away any chance of sitting here most nights!