Thai and mighty
Though I knew of its existence on South Lakeside Drive, I’d never visited A Taste of Thai. With its recent move to a West Moana Lane location, I figured it was time I rounded up the ladies—and my favorite young foodie twins—to check it out.
Fusion ($17) is an appetizer sampler of five favorites, served with cucumber salad, peanut sauce and sweet and sour sauce. The salad was a good mix of cucumber, celery and purple onion, dressed with seasoned rice vinegar and herbs; the small serving left us wanting more. The bright red sweet and sour was pretty standard, but the spicy peanut sauce was exceptional. Marinated skewers of chicken satay were lightly grilled, with a texture much softer than expected. Perhaps the marinade worked overtime. Gari paab is reminiscent of empanada, a deep-fried wrapper filled with mashed potato, onion, and curry powder. It was crunchy, a little sweet and really good with the peanut sauce.
Two of each item were included, save for a khanom bueang that overtook one corner of the plate. This crispy crepe made with rice and mung bean flour was filled with shrimp, chicken, coconut, tofu, bean sprout, scallion and ground peanut. It was sort of like a large, delicious Thai taco. Deep-fried spring rolls ($8) of noodles, cabbage, celery, taro and carrot were crunchy and fresh, and the seafood Rangoon cream cheese puffs ($9) were filled with perceptible amounts of shrimp and imitation crab. The boys enjoyed the last two enough that we ordered additional plates of both.
Entrees are served with a bowl of rice. Big meaty chunks of roasted ginger duck ($18) were tossed in seasoned oil with fresh ginger, bell pepper, onion, carrot and mushroom. Though the skin wasn’t the crispy sort I love, the meat itself would satisfy any waterfowl fan. Next, a plate of spicy green bean salmon ($18), chunks of filet fried in an interesting ground chicken crust, with green bean and carrot sauteed in chili paste. The veggies were very fresh, and though swimming in a fair amount of seasoned oil, the spicy flavor was solid.
One boy said he wanted pad Thai with shrimp—a favorite of mine—then made a last minute switch and ordered tofu instead ($12). The mix of slightly broad rice noodle, egg, browned bean curd, bean sprout, scallion and tamarind sauce—with julienned carrot and ground peanut on the side—was a bit sweeter than my preference, but absolutely the real deal. Fortunate, since the kid didn’t love it, and I took it home for a pretty nice lunch.
Green curry avocado ($14) was a first for me, but the sweet/spicy sauce was perfect spooned over rice, along with plenty of chunky ripe avocado, zucchini, green bean, pea, carrot, bell pepper and chicken. The meat had the “velveted” texture common with Chinese cooking, and the big pieces of avocado really made the dish. We rounded out the meal with “Beef Flame” ($15), a sauteed combination of marinated beef in red wine sauce with onion, mushroom, bell pepper and fresh cilantro. It was dramatically delivered—sizzling and bubbling on cast iron—akin to fajitas. The flavors and veg were great, though the beef was slightly overcooked. Overall the quality of our experience made obvious the reason for the restaurant’s longevity.