The city of Hudson has a new old favorite: Isaan Thai Star. While the restaurant is still serving the same Northern Thai specialties it has since it launched in 2018—larb kai and beef gra prao woon sen to name a couple—the local favorite reopened this summer in a beautiful new indoor-outdoor space just a few storefronts from its original location on 7th Street. Isaan Thai Star now has one of the largest outdoor dining areas in Hudson, with space for 120 on its 1,800-square-foot patio.
With a background in construction, McArdle himself handled the redesign and construction of the new spot; the result is stunning. “It took two years to build, from the ground up,” McArdle says. “We took down the building, jackhammered the concrete in the back, ripped down the old fencing, and built a new structure.”
The front door opens off 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 was a victim of Hurricane Irene in 2011. The exposed-rafter ceilings jump to two-story height halfway through the space, with transom windows letting in even more light.
State-of-the art technology includes an air circulation system that kills up to 90 percent of airborne bacteria and viruses. McArdle, who partnered with local contractors, also created two new apartments in a house next door to the restaurant.
As pretty as the dining room is, guests should venture through the trifold doors at the back of the restaurant and take in the huge, 38-by-48-foot patio. One of the largest outdoor dining spots in Hudson, the courtyard has capacity for 121 people. Fifteen-foot wood-slat walls—soundproofed and backlit by color-changing lights—provide privacy on two sides, with the antique brick of a neighboring building (a future performing-arts center) providing the fourth wall. Diners have their choice of mosaic-topped bistro tables or a comfy outdoor couch.
The patio is the place to be for live music, too. Previous performers have included roots and folk musician Phillip Roebuck, bluegrass band Stillhouse Junkies, Arleigh & Jackson of Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, and the Thai musical stylings of vinyl DJ Krooanthony.
“The space is unique to Hudson,” McArdle explains. “It’s two blocks off Warren Street, but it’s not sitting on the street, there’s no street noise bothering the patrons, and the music doesn’t bother the neighbors.”
Arjsing—McArdle’s “sweetheart,” as he refers to her—heads up the kitchen, creating authentic Northeastern Thai cuisine from her own recipes generated from the Isaan region of northeast Thailand. “She kept dazzling me with delicious food, and we saw there was a demand for Thai food in the area,” McArdle says. Now, people come from as far as Great Barrington for favorites like the curries (four varieties to choose from, made with coconut milk and vegetables, starting at $16) and the drunken tofu noodles (flat rice noodles stir-fried with egg, chili, garlic, bell pepper, onions, carrots, broccoli and Thai basil, starting at $16).
Isaan Thai Star also showcases specials like the crying tiger—grilled New York strip steak served with tamarind spicy sauce and sticky rice ($32); and basil duck—roasted duck breast stir-fried with garlic, bell pepper, mushroom, onion, scallion 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 made to order. Isaan Thai Star also offers a selection of wines, cocktails, and draft beers, as well as non-alcoholic drinks 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 they credit for their survival during the pandemic. “I remember when COVID hit, you could roll a bowling ball down Warren Street and not hit anyone,” McArdle says of the dearth of business. “But with our online ordering, takeout, and delivery, our business grew by 70 to 80 percent. I’m not going to just forsake that.”
Isaan Thai Star’s employees, and McArdle himself, deliver orders to the customers. “People enjoy seeing the owners and employees delivering their food,” he says.
Isaan Thai Star
41 N 7th Street, Hudson
Open Thursday through Monday, 3-10pm