Thai Times Two

Chao Thai opens a new location

Oh, the pilgrimages we Thai-food fans have made to Chao Thai.

For years, the unassuming Elmhurst hole-in-the-wall has been our destination for the spicy-sour-sweet-bitter flavors of standout Thai cuisine. Chao Thai's tiny space belies its profound cooking prowess.

Now, little Chao is all grown up. Its owners have expanded their empire to a second storefront a few blocks from the original. Chao Thai Too has much of the same sprawling menu, in decidedly swankier digs.  

The food remains the star, with bold, true flavors straight out of the Land of 1,000 Smiles. Start with the house-made sai krok e-san, a slightly fermented sausage ($9.50); then sample incendiary larb (ground chicken, pork, beef, duck or catfish, $9.50 to $13) served warm and shot through with mint and scallions.

Cool your burning palate with pad prik king pla duk foo ($13), ground catfish fried and tossed with chopped string beans in mild red curry paste; then try the crisp chile-laced fried morning glory (a green similar to spinach) salad, decorated with juicy shrimp, squid and mussels ($12). Finish with creamy coconut ice cream, served in the half shell and topped with toasted peanuts.

Chao Thai Too has made Elmhurst twice as nice.

Chao Thai Too, 83-47 Dongan Ave. (at Broadway), Queens; 718-424-9888