>> Wednesday, August 21, 2013

71-60 Yellowstone Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-2099 / 0078

Hive Thai Cooking on Yellowstone Boulevard, across from the now shuttered Da Silvana, is the latest attempt at making a successful restaurant on its particular corner. The space was formerly the improperly-named Dumpling Cafe, a decent-but-not-amazing Chinese place with far fewer dumplings on the menu than their name would imply. Prior to Dumpling Cafe, the occupant had been Munch, a coffee bar/sandwich shop/internet cafe/Asian candy store, whose decision to be a jack of all trades ultimately meant that it was the master of none. Thai is a risky venture here. Forest Hills currently has at least seven. And now it has eight. Can Hive pull customers away from the competition? 

I've eaten twice at Hive. Once, Bro and I took the food to go. A second time, I ate in by myself. Clearly, Hive will be making the vast majority of its money with to-go orders. I've never seen more than one table was occupied by a dine-in customer, and I was him. Speaking of the interior, it's well lit, cheery, and spotlessly clean, but it's somewhat barren and stale and I sort of felt like I was eating in an oversized kindergarten cafeteria. 

Hive's best dish thus far was the Tom Yum Soup, a spicy lemongrass soup with mushroom, cilantro, lime leaves, galangal and lime juice that I ordered with chicken. It burst with flavor and heat. I like it when a spicy soup really gets my nose to run, and run it did. I also ordered the Grilled Chicken Satay, a Thai classic. Marinated in turmeric and coconut milk, Hive's satay is far less dry than others that I've had. It was served with both a peanut dipping sauce and a sweet cucumber dipping sauce. I think that fans of chicken satay will be far from disappointed. I can't say the same for the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings. The dumplings are actually filled with a pureed mix of shrimp, chicken, and mushroom, and while Bro didn't mind them, I thought that they were just slightly more palatable than eating shrimp scented balls of soggy cardboard. The ginger soy dip helped, but not having ordered them in the first place would have helped more.

In feebly trying to limit my carb intake, I have yet to try any of Hive's noodle dishes. Sacrilege, I know. Anyone with opinions on their pad thai or pad woonsen are encouraged to fill my comment box to bursting. I have had the Chicken Wok Basil, a spicy-but-not-too-spicy stir fry of your choice meat (chicken for me), carrots, onion, chili-garlic, and basil sauce. Very very good. I was pleasantly surprised and am bound to get this again. Bro ordered the Mixed Vegetable & Tofu Wok Garlic, which is pretty much the same thing, but with more vegetables, a few slabs of tofu, and garlic sauce instead of basil sauce. This, while not bad, was less impressive and I don't see myself ever choosing it over the wok basil. When I returned by my lonesome, I ordered the Chicken Rama and was unprepared for what I would soon learn would be a literal mountain of food. Huge pieces of grilled chicken over a massive pile of steamed vegetables under an ocean of peanut sauce and a snowstorm of chopped peanuts. Despite Hive's unappetizing decision to make the dish look like something that a cow with IBS would make, the dish wasn't too bad. At least at first. But by the end I was starting to fall into a food coma and was getting angry at myself for even considering finishing it. Yeah, it was good, but it could have been better. I would recommend ordering it to share and asking for at most half the peanut sauce. 

Bro took a desert home, the Fried Banana with Ice Cream. He liked it. I didn't have any. 

So, what do I predict for Hive? Oof. To be fair, they're at best a work in progress. The menu is filled with standards instead of original dishes and they aren't necessarily any better than anyone else. Their interior is chipper but bland, they have no liquor license and no desire to be BYOB (I asked). Thus, they're basically relying on take out customers and being cheap to survive. Will that be enough to dissuade people from Thai Pot, Mint's, et al? Time will tell but I would bet that the competition isn't losing any sleep. I were Hive, I'd get a beer list ASAP and find some way to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Appetizers average $6, entrees range from $9-15.


Anonymous,  August 22, 2013 at 2:59 PM  

nice review. do you think that chicken rama swimming in fat and carbs or is it relatively healthy?

Jon Parker August 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM  

With that volume of peanut sauce, yeah, it had to have been high in fat and carbs. If they gave out a quarter of the amount of sauce, or put it on the side so you could choose how much you wanted, it'd have been far far healthier. And far more preferred.

Anonymous,  September 13, 2013 at 9:22 AM  

This place was not open yesterday early evening. Wonder if it went out of business. Bann Thai on Austin went kaput. 1

Anonymous,  October 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM  

anything coming up? Your avid readers want to know!

Jon Parker October 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM  

Believe me, I know. I've been out of town most of the month. I'm hoping to check out the newish Indian place on QB and the Turkish place on Metro soon. And MoCA has been on my half-done list for months.

In the mean time, my citywide blog just got Stone Rose Lounge!

Anonymous,  October 4, 2013 at 3:53 PM  

And I just read it. Have you been to Sons of Essex? I couldn't find it on the blog. Thanks.

Jon Parker October 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM  

I have been to Sons of Essex. I wasn't enamored. If you go to the top of the blog page you will see tabs. One of those tabs says "archives". It is an alphabetical listing of everywhere I've been.

Anonymous,  November 6, 2013 at 10:40 AM  

C'mon. i'm hungry!

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