One of the best dishes I ate this summer was inspired by an after-school snack. When Prasneeya “Pat” Praditpoj — one of the owners of Tong, a terrific new Thai restaurant in Bushwick — was growing up in Thailand, her favorite street treat to grab on the way home from school was chili-lime roasted squid, or Pla Muk Yang. At Tong, chef Chetkangwan “Jade” Thipruetree's preferred cephalopod for the dish is octopus, which he chars to an impossibly soft texture, and suffuses in a sharp, fiery sauce. It's delicious.

There are many other good things to eat here as well, and because the format is mostly small plates (really more like medium-sized plates), you have the opportunity to try a whole bunch of them at one meal.

“We were thinking of how we eat in Thailand when we go out drinking," Praditpoj said about the Tong experience. “We like to have a good time with friends and share small dishes, or kub klaem.” Which sounds like a quaintly pre-pandemic notion.

Pad Mhee Ko Rad ($16)

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

Whether your're sharing or not, get the Naem Khluk, a spectacular dish combining the deep funk of fermented pork sausage with loads of high notes from chilis, lime leaf, ginger, and scallions, all mixed in with chunks of crispy rice. Another of Chef Jade's signature dishes, Goi Neu, is almost as good, a mound of fiery, Isaan-style beef tartare that you can wrap into bitter leaves (which is how Praditpoj's family does it) or scoop up with taro crisps.

Chef Jade has company in the kitchen, too. Sunisa "Susan" Nitmai, the talent behind the acclaimed Pata Cafe in Elmhurst, brings her famous Mum—dry cured beef and beef liver sausage—to Bushwick, as well as Pad Mhee Ko Rad, a plate of wok fried noodles run through with Thai soybean paste, and punctuated by fat, whole shrimp and sweet pickled radish.

I stuffed myself silly and barely made a dent in the menu. Among the other 35 or so dishes I haven't gotten to yet: Yum Pla Duk Fu, starring "crispy and fluffy" fried catfish; Krapow Gai Sub, which features a mound of minced chicken sauteed with Thai bird chilis and served with rice; Khao Moo Krob, or pork belly with sweet chili sauce and winter melon soup; and Kha Nom Jeen Nam Ya Poo, crab curry ladled over vermicelli with bitter melon, long bean, and preserved mustard greens.

And although the partners had drinking in their mind when they conceived of Tong way back when (it was actually ready to open last summer, but they had to wait an entire year for National Grid to turn on their gas) they are still waiting on their liquor license. You are invited, however, to duck around the corner and grab a bottle from Starr Wines and bring it back to your table.

Tong did luck out with their outdoor dining situation, because although the restaurant sits directly in front of a fire hydrant, the storefront nextdoor is empty, so they could set up a curbside space a few feet away. It's also worth noting that this stretch of Starr Street is just far enough removed from the party scene down near the Jefferson L station to ease any worries you may have about overcrowding.

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

Tong is located at 321 Starr Street, between Cyprus and St Nicholas Avenues, and is currently open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weeknights, and until 10:30 on Friday and Saturday (718-366-0586;