When eating out, it’s a good sign if a majority of the diners go out of their way to tell the restaurant’s owner how much they enjoyed their meal. It’s an equally good sign when the owner knows almost every person who walks in the door by name.
After a recent visit to Frankly Thai in Franklin Square, it’s no wonder patrons keep coming back and singing the eatery’s praises. The warm, inviting atmosphere pairs well with the flavorful, authentic cuisine at this popular restaurant, which sets itself apart with its fresh ingredients and commitment to getting it right with each and every plate.
The namesake behind Frankly Thai is Frank Perrone, an outgoing, genuine Italian who owns the restaurant with his wife, Jin, a humble and extremely-talented Thailand-native who heads up the kitchen. While many restaurants claim authenticity, Frankly Thai is the real deal. The recipes come from Jin’s mother, who had plenty of experience cooking for her seven children as they grew up in Thailand.
“The food comes from our table in Thailand, right here,” Frank said. “All the recipes are an extension of Jin’s mom and she brings her mom’s recipes to life everyday in the kitchen.”
The care and passion the Frankly Thai staff put into every dish can be seen right from the start. The appetizers are all hand-made, and though it’s a labor-intensive process, it has a huge payoff in regards to taste and presentation. The chicken satay pairs well with the cucumber or peanut sauce, and the crab rangoon, stuffed with cream cheese and crab is a savory delight, especially topped with the hot chili sauce. The papaya salad, with hand-shredded green papaya and carrots, tomatoes, string beans, peanuts and lime dressing is a refreshing and tasty choice that serves as a great precursor to whatever rich food you’re about to indulge in from the entrée menu.
The true stand-out on the appetizer menu is the golden bags, crispy spring sheets filled with sautéed ground chicken, corn, onions and cilantro. These bite-sized pouches of deliciousness are packed with flavor and the taste is taken to another level when paired with the sweet chili sauce. They’re great for sharing, but if you’re feeling selfish, you can’t go wrong getting your own plate.
As diners move onto the main course, the passion and high standards the Perrones have for the food that comes out of their kitchen continues to be evident. While some Thai restaurants settle for mass producing dishes and curries, resulting in plates that all come out tasting vaguely like peanut, Frankly Thai distinguishes itself by hand crafting each dish as it’s ordered.
The entrée menu has something for everyone, including the novice and experienced Thai food eater. The drunken noodle, a staple on the menus of Thai restaurants, is exceptional here. Also not to be missed is the Frankly Delight—sautéed chicken with string beans, cashews and bell peppers in a spicy sauce. Diners can go off the menu with the udon basil noodle or the rich and creamy khao soi, a coconut-milk based curry dish that features soft noodles topped with crispy noodles, and served with lime juice, pickled cabbage and red onion on the side.
After the delicious flavor explosion that’s passed through your mouth, you’ll probably want to cool down with some dessert. The light and fluffy Thai-style zeppolis are addictive and the Thai-style crepe, a soft pastry served with homemade ice cream, is delicious.
With the love and dedication that is put into each plate, Thai is done right at Frankly Thai. The only challenge is deciding whether to go family-style or keeping the dish to yourself.
Frankly Thai is at 959 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square. For more information visit www.franklythai.com or call 516-616-4393.