Just like home
Noodles to Thai For
Noodles to Thai For2675 24th St.
Sacramento, CA 95818
For most people, what we eat at home is not what we eat when out. We usually want something a bit more complicated at restaurants, though it depends on the occasion. Is it a big night out or just dinner on the way home from work?
In either situation, Sacramentans especially seem to love Thai food. Note Taste of Thai and Chada Thai Cuisine existing practically next door to each other on Broadway for years.
Last September, another Thai restaurant opened in Curtis Park. Situated in the original location of Shoki Ramen House, Noodles to Thai For adds a second eatery to this somewhat underloved intersection. Rather than a fancy place with gold-spangled elephants on the wall, this feels more like eating in someone’s home. Fittingly, it even looks like a little house, with lots of bright windows and just a few tables.
It’s as if the owner, Janet Pitak, invited you over for dinner cooked by her mother, Lek Pitak. Lek used to cook at Thai Palace on J Street as well as restaurants in San Francisco. Here, she’s got her twin sister, Susan, on hand as well. They learned many of their recipes from their mother in Thailand.
Maybe that’s why the food is less refined than in many other local Thai restaurants. The somewhat thin red curry ($7.95) lacks the silky lushness of the curries at Thai Basil, for example, but it still has a depth of flavor that works well with pork.
Similarly, the Thai fried rice ($7.95) is a hearty portion, but contains very few vegetables and underseasoned chicken. Compared to the colorful produce-rich version at Chada Thai, it’s a bit dowdy.
Noodles are in the name, and they make up the majority of dishes on the menu. The sauces—but not the noodles—are made in-house. The pad see ew ($7.95) features wide noodles coated in a flavorful gravy with shreds of Chinese broccoli and egg. It looks nothing like the photo on the menu, but we enjoyed it enough to clean the plate.
The pad Thai ($7.95) is usually a good gauge of a Thai restaurant’s style. This one has thin rice noodles—though, the menu advertised thick ones—coated in a sweet sauce, with large chunks of fried tofu and tender shrimp. Loads of ground peanuts coat the top.
It’s fine, and even pretty good cold the next day, but not distinctive. That seems to be the theme here. Just as you might eat spaghetti and jarred marinara any night of the week, and even enjoy it, it’s not gourmet. Noodles to Thai For feeds you plenty of hot, hearty food that’s more mom-style than cheffy.
Lots of people seem to enjoy the huge bowls of boat noodles ($7.95), though, with housemade meatballs. The chicken satay ($6.75) is better-than-average, too, with well-seasoned meat and tons of creamy peanut sauce.
The owner and servers couldn’t be more friendly. They essentially welcome you to their home. On one visit, Janet encouraged us to get the blue pea juice ($2.50), noting that she specially orders it from Thailand. It’s made with pea flowers and, similar to hibiscus tea, is quenching and sweet.
While there are plenty of great Thai places to choose from, Noodles to Thai For rewards folks craving a simple plate of noodles in a warm, cozy space. Sometimes you don’t want the latest heirloom vegetable or a banquet worthy of a king. You just want your mom.