The Town of Hudson has a new favourite: Isaan Thai Star. While the restaurant still serves the same northern Thai specialties it has had since its launch in 2018 – larb kai and beef gra prao woon sen to name a few – the local favorite reopened this summer in a beautiful indoor-outdoor space just a few storefronts from its original location on 7th Street. Isaan Thai Star now boasts one of the largest outdoor dining venues in Hudson, with space for 120 people on its 1,800 square foot terrace.
With a construction background, McArdle handled the redesign and construction of the new spot himself; The result is stunning. “It took two years to build, from scratch,” says McArdle. “We tore down the building, hammered in the concrete behind it, tore down the old fence and built a new structure.”
The front door opens to the street into the 60-seat, 1,800-square-foot dining room, which is done in tasteful shades of sage, white, and cream with wood accents. The 12-stool bar was built from a repurposed Prattsville barn silo that fell victim to Hurricane Irene in 2011. Exposed rafter ceilings jump to a two-story height halfway through the space, with transom windows letting in even more light.
Advanced technology includes an air circulation system that kills up to 90% of airborne bacteria and viruses. McArdle, who has partnered with local entrepreneurs, has also created two new apartments in a house next to the restaurant.
As pretty as the dining room is, diners should venture through the triple-pane doors at the back of the restaurant and admire the huge 38-by-48-foot patio. One of Hudson’s largest outdoor restaurants, the courtyard seats 121 people. Fifteen-foot wooden slat walls – soundproofed and backlit by color-changing lights – provide privacy on two sides, with antique brickwork from a nearby building (a future performing arts center) making up the fourth wall. Diners have the choice between mosaic-covered bistro tables or a comfortable outdoor sofa.
The patio is also the perfect place to listen to live music. Previous artists have included roots and folk musician Phillip Roebuck, bluegrass band Stillhouse Junkies, Arleigh & Jackson of Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, and Thai musical styles from vinyl DJ Krooanthony.
“The space is unique to Hudson,” says McArdle. “It’s two blocks from Warren Street, but it’s not sitting on the street, there’s no street noise to bother guests, and the music doesn’t bother neighbors.”
Arjsing, McArdle’s ‘sweetheart’ as he calls her, runs the kitchen, creating authentic northeast Thai cuisine from her own recipes generated in the Isaan region northeast of Thailand. Thailand. “She kept dazzling me with delicious food and we saw there was a demand for Thai food in the area,” says McArdle. Now people come from as far away as Great Barrington for specialties like curries (four varieties to choose from, made with coconut milk and vegetables, from $16) and drunken tofu noodles (rice noodles sautéed dishes with egg, chili, garlic, bell pepper, onions, carrots, broccoli and Thai basil, from $16).
Isaan Thai Star also offers specialties like Crying Tiger Grilled New York Striploin Steak served with Spicy Tamarind Sauce and Sticky Rice ($32); and duck with basil — roasted duck breast sautéed with garlic, bell pepper, mushroom, onion, shallot and basil, served with Thai jasmine rice ($36). A customer favorite is the Thai-style pick-and-mix: start with a stir-fry base, choose noodles or fried rice, and add a protein like organic tofu, pork, duck, crispy chicken, steak or seafood.
Arjsing insists on using fresh ingredients in the restaurant’s dishes, including non-dehydrated noodles. Everything is made from scratch and to order. Isaan Thai Star also offers a selection of wines, cocktails and draft beers, as well as non-alcoholic beverages like the popular Thai iced green tea (try it with tapioca pearls or with “glass jelly”).
The restaurant has a booming take-out and delivery business, which it attributes to its survival during the pandemic. “I remember when COVID hit, you could roll a bowling ball down Warren Street and not hit anybody,” McArdle says of the business shortage. “But with our online orders, takeout and deliveries, our business has increased by 70-80%. I’m not just going to give up on that.
Isaan Thai Star employees and McArdle himself deliver orders to customers. “People like to see owners and employees delivering their food,” he says.
Isaan Thai Star
41 N 7th Street, Hudson
Open Thursday to Monday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.