We don’t have too many “shacks” in Westchester. A shack, especially by a highway, has all the allure of cheapness and authenticity. Because a shack is nothing if not authentic. Road trip!
Thai Shack in Yonkers beckons from the southernmost stretch of Central Avenue with flags waving (everyone knows the best shacks have flags), one being the flag of Thailand. It’s a takeout, cash-only operation where you order through a window. Park where you can and hop out; across the Thruway, Empire City Casino’s peaked porte-cochère gleams like the Emerald City. The nearly year-old shack used to be Mario’s Short Stop, a burger joint that never hit the big time—unlike Thai Shack, which was featured on the first episode of Fios’ Restaurant Hunter.
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Pad Thai may not be pretty, but it’s the real deal—just like the Thai Shack itself.
The window slides open and you’re greeted by a man with a Scottish accent, one of the owners; his female counterpart is in back, cooking. The menu is larger than you might expect, and not much cheaper than your local Thai restaurant. Everything is cooked from scratch and made to order, so expect a wait. The window slid shut, and we froze while debating whether to wait in the car; in warm weather, we might have snagged a seat at a plastic table.
Mixed appetizers held a winner, worthy of ordering on its own: shrimp rolls, the classic whole shrimp in a spring roll wrapper, tail sticking out. We had hoped for more from the samosa-like beef curry puff and spring roll, which were not bad but too darkly fried. Ditto for shrimp pad Thai—hotter than expected, with a strangely sweet flavor and a paucity of shrimp. Massaman curry sauce had a grainy, nutty texture.
But we may yet venture back to the Shack. There’s a $6.95 lunch special and a few things we’ve never tried, such as pad gari (a yellow curry; there is a large selection of curries). And partly because of the allure of the Shack. Road trip!
541 Central Ave