UPDATED 11/18/11 at end of original article.JOYA
215 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Cobble Hill is like one long stretch of restaurant options. This venture into New York's hippest borough was to Joya, a cool Thai place that clearly makes all of its money on the drinks, since it can't possibly be turning a profit on the food. Their specials aside, there are hardly any entrees that break $10. Plus, they give you so much food that you're pretty much required to take some home for tomorrow.
The first time I had been to Joya was months ago with Mr. Dogz in warmer times when the large rear dining area was open. I'd been dying to return, this time with a camera, but as Dogz was unavailable, I took along Bro and D. We had a great time. Joya's front half is occupied by a large bar and the music is so loud that you can barely hear the words coming from the person next to you. The wait, when we got there around 8pm was over half an hour. So we grabbed a seat at the crowded bar and proceeded to enjoy some libations until a table opened.
Once ordering, the food took no time to arrive. It was so fast that one could be forgiven for suspecting that maybe it was being reheated from earlier, except that the kitchen is wide open and you can see everything being prepared.
The first thing we ordered, other than booze, were some starters. I'm usually found ordering the coconut-based Tom Ka Gai soup, but this time around, I changed my tune and went for the Tom Yum Koong soup, a hot and sour soup with shrimp and mushroom. Very good, especially if you like spicy soups. It was light, but since they give you a bucket of it, pretty filling. D ordered the Fried Tiger Shrimp Rolls served with a plum sauce, which I got a tiny bite of and recall enjoying. She wolfed them down, so I'm guessing they were tasty. Finally, Bro partook of the Fresh Thai Summer Rolls, deep fried shrimp rolls with tamarind sauce.
Next up, we ordered was an entree for the whole table to share, Chicken Pad Thai, sauteed rice noodles with chicken, peanuts, sprouts, and egg. The good ol' stand-by dish. Everyone who goes to a Thai restaurant has to, by law, order their pad thai. Joya's pad thai was pretty good. I've certainly had better, but for the price, it'll be a long time before I start to complain.
Our respective entrees were all good and, for better or for worse, all pretty similar. I went with the Nuur Kartiam, sliced beef wioth broccoli, cabbage, carrots and onions in a fresh garlic sauce. D ordered the Nuur Kraprow, sauteed sliced beef with pepper, cabbage, carrots and onions in a chili basil sauce. Last, but not least, Bro picked the Koong Kraprow, shrimp with peppers, cabbage, carrots and onions in a chili basil sauce.
See how similar they are? No wonder they took all of fifteen seconds to make. I feel like I'm cheating by lumping them together, but the truth is, you order one dish and vary it based on the type of sauce and whether you want chicken, beef, shrimp or octopus. At least for the entrees. Joya has noodle dishes and curries. I can't speak for their noodles beyond the pad thai above, but I have had their green and red curries, from the time I was here with Mr. Dogz, and they were both good and plentiful. We'd have taken doggie-bags of leftovers home, but we were going to start bar-hopping and no one looks like a bigger tool than the guy at the bar with his doggie-bag of leftovers.
Our entire meal of three appetizers, four entrees, and four drinks came to around $70. No dessert this time. We were too full. Joya's cash only, by the way.
UPDATE 11/18/11: So I returned for a quick bite after a couple of years since eating here and honestly, can't say I was impressed. I ordered a soup and it felt thin and listless. I ordered the grilled quid salad and it came in a soup of dressing. I ordered the garlic chicken and... meh. The upside is that it all cost only $25 with tax and tip, but man. What drop in expectations. I was really hoping for oh so much more.