A Taste of Thai
A Taste of Thai
31 E. Center St.
A Taste of Thai
2106 S. Walton Blvd.
By John Strother
Lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays
It’s food cooked just the way Mom did – if Mom happened to be from Southeast Asia and her repertoire of kitchen ingredients included tofu, lemon grass, kaffir leaves and sliced bamboo.
Pull up in front of a lush bowl of Kang Keow Waan (Green Curry) and you’re sure to appreciate the exotic blend of flavors that are found in every dish at A Taste of Thai. It’s an experience that can be rich, delicate, spicy and sweet all at the same time.
The menu can be intimidating with over 60 dishes to sort through, as well as another 27 vegetarian choices. My recommendation is to take it in a run…gather together a group of friends and tackle the menu for a family style dining approach.
With this thought in mind, and family in tow, we sorted through the menu with the difficult task of narrowing down our selection to just five items. The appetizer decision was eased by the option of a combination plate ($9.25) including angel wings, satay chicken and spring rolls. The angel wings (Peak Kai Tod) are deep fried boneless chicken wings stuffed with noodles and mixed vegetables, served with a thin chili sauce. Two more sauces are included; a thick peanut sauce for the tender satay chicken, and a sweet and sour cucumber sauce to dip the crisp spring rolls. That gave us some wonderful crunch time while choosing our entrees.
Curry, for me, is an absolute necessity at a Thai restaurant, and the green curry was incredible. Bamboo shoots, eggplant, shrimp, scallops and salmon ($11.95) all covered in silky coconut milk. The spice factor is up to you, with a scale of zero to five. For the curry I chose a middle of the road three, which put enough fire in it without chasing me far from the table. The shrimp was plump and juicy with no signs of stewing too long in a pot. And with five additional different curries offered it means more visits will be made.
Pad Thai is a sticky stir-fried rice noodle dish made with eggs, bean sprouts, green onions and spices topped with ground peanuts. It comes with your choice of meat; chicken, beef or pork for $7.50, or prawns for $8.50, and – as with all the dishes – is delivered in a very generous portion. The thin noodles hold up well with the vegetables, and a spice category of two still made its presence felt.
For a dish tilting to the sweet, the Prew-Wan (aka Sweet and Sour) is a sure bet. Chicken simmered in a thick sweet and sour sauce, onions, cucumbers, pineapples and green bell peppers. The Rummit Puk (thank goodness you can order these by numbers) is a mixed vegetable stir fry in Thai bean sauce and sesame oil. Even ordered with prawns it’s only $8.95.
We rounded out the spread with Kao Pad ($7.95), fried rice with chicken, pork and shrimp, not quite a Thai signature dish but still darn good. We gathered the entrees to the middle of the table and accompanied by a large bowl of steamed rice we were able to sample each individual choice. The service was outstanding, answering questions while frequently checking back with us and refilling the steamed rice after we emptied the first one.
It was tough, but we still made room for desert by way of another must have combination plate. Sweet sticky rice, sweet mango and homemade coconut ice-cream ($5.95). The warm, sticky rice was a unique treat; somewhere between a heavy rice pudding and thick tapioca. The scoop of rich coconut ice-cream slowly melts on top of the dense rice adding a light creamy touch to the dish.
Taste of Thai has certainly earned their mark as an award-winning restaurant – my opinion as well as numerous Readers’ Choice Awards from the Fayetteville Free Weekly and the Arkansas Times. They have two restaurants to choose from; the original spot at 31 E. Center Street in Fayetteville, and a second location in Bentonville at 2106 S. Walton.