Boa Thai in North Sea is busy creating a tropical zone in the Hamptons. On a recent evening, my dining partner and I were met with warm greetings and cold, tropical drinks. With perhaps a knowing nod to the old Trader Vic’s style of “Polynesian” libations, bartender Patrick has invented a signature “Boa Thai Mai Tai” – a fizzy mix of rum and lychee juice shaken and poured over ice, garnished with a lychee speared with a tiny orange pirate’s sword. The drink is further decked out with a festive red swizzle stick and an umbrella, making it the most elaborate cocktail I’ve had since that trip to Fantasy Island. It was very refreshing. My dining partner had the more sedate Lychee Martini, vodka and lychee liqueur shaken and served up with a lychee garnish. Also very nice. The regular cocktail list includes a standard Mai Tai, Sex on the Beach, and that old standby, the Kamikaze. No Suffering Bastard, though.
Customers are welcome to dine at the bar, but they might miss out on the efficient and graceful service provided by Boa Thai’s table staff.
In due time the playful drinks and the festive bar spectacle gave way to some serious food, notable for its contrasts: sweet vs. salty, crispy vs. tender, warm vs. chilled. The Roti appetizer was a delicious fried pancake, crispy on the surface but tender below, cut into sections and doused with a sweet sauce but served with a salty curry dip. The Roast Duck Salad served up warm, tender slices of moist duck with a delightfully crispy skin on a chilled salad of cucumber, cherry tomato and greens. The Tao Huu Soup was very good, too, combining chunks of soft tofu with savory chicken in a flavorful broth topped with fresh scallions and cilantro. My dining partner saw to it that not a drop was wasted.
In between courses, I ordered a glass of the Matua Sauvignon Blanc, from New Zealand. By the time you read this review, Boa Thai will have added local wines from Palmer to their selections. They are also exploring options for acquiring ingredients from local farmers. As of yet, however, there doesn’t appear to be a lychee farmer anywhere on the East End.
I had alerted the kitchen that I needed to experience something spicy, and that they shouldn’t go easy on me. I was not disappointed by the Duck Curry, (a special) which was duck slices served in a coconut sauce with green peppers on top and a grilled pineapple slice underneath. It delivered much more than a tingle, but stayed well short of serious pain. For my dining partner, it was love at first taste for the Mussamun Beef Curry, a fork tender slow-roasted cut of beef in a creamy sweet but savory coconut sauce with potatoes, onions and crunchy peanuts. Noting its surprising but pleasing affinity to stew, we decided it would the ideal gateway Thai food for the Irish. Then there was the perfectly turned out Thai BBQ Chicken, a seasoned, char-grilled half chicken served with a sweet sauce on the side and a container of sticky rice. If all of this sounds like a lot of meat, never fear. Boa Thai has a wide variety of vegetarian options to tempt you.
Dessert saw the thrilling reappearance of the Roti, this time served whole over a layer of banana slices and with a liberal sprinkling of vanilla sauce. Lashings of chocolate sauce on the side of the plate were meant for dragging forkfuls of Roti through, and that’s just what we did. Less exotic, but still nice, was a warm chocolate brownie served with coconut ice cream and whipped cream.
Boa Thai is hosting a Sunday Brunch buffet every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also be on the look out for Karaoke nights, which Boa Thai plans to begin hosting soon.
It’s also worth noting that Boa Thai provides take-out service, and that delivery service is available through Crown Delivery.
Boa Thai, 129 Noyack Road, North Sea, Southampton. 631-488-4422, www.boathai.com.