Having a total variety of cuisines from Asia, I recently ventured to Thailand Kitchen located at 86-05 Jamaica Avenue (718-847-4700) to sample more than my usual Pad Thai. Please keep in mind that the sampling was not done in one sitting or on the same day. Yes, I do get full.
I tend to judge a Thai restaurant on its Pad Thai, a dish consisting of Thai rice noodles sautéed with egg, dried bean curd, bean sprouts, ground peanuts, and green onions. With an added choice of chicken, beef, tofu, vegetables or vegetarian duck, I tend to find it to be a “safe” dish as well as “passing my test”.
Spicy food is not my thing, but I do want to be fair. In fact I take my friend Deveka along with me as nothing seems too spicy for her. I chose one safe salad and one spicy soup. Glass Noodle Salad uses translucent vermicelli noodles that are made from mung bean starch. Add minced chicken and shrimp, chili, onions and cilantro, topped with a lime dressing. Per my request the chili was not added.
On another occasion, we sampled the Mango Salad of julienne mango and carrots with red onions and lime dressing. Me thinks that I communicated my spicy situation regarding the glass noodles and forgot to mention on this salad as the dressing is quite hot but so tasty. I viewed chili flakes. My Thai iced coffee was of great use having the milk in it.
Lemongrass Shrimp Soup, better known as Tom Yom, is a hot and sour soup with lemongrass and galanga root, a white-fleshed root from Thailand that can be used as a substitute for ginger. What makes the soup hot is the chili pepper. However, I found that this particular chili doesn’t circulate around my whole mouth and make it unbearable. It hits that back of my throat and within a few lovin’ spoonfuls I am able to build up a tolerance and appreciate the excellent flavors of the soup.
As a change on soup choices, I did order the Coconut Chicken Soup that uses coconut milk, galanga, kaffir lime and scallions. It’s quite good and not as spicy as Tom Yom.
Back to the appetizers. Spare ribs here on not of the Chinese ilk. They are deep fried with garlic and pepper, accompanied by a sweet and spicy sauce for dipping. No dipping for me. I found them to be tender and savory.
Crispy Spring Rolls seem to be made different in each Asian cuisine. Thai style is filled with glass noodles, cabbage and vegetables. I also loved the Shrimp Fritters, a sort of fried wontons filled with ground shrimp and chicken served with that sweet chili sauce. Then, there are the Chicken Wings in the sweet Chili sauce. They were not coated with bread crumbs or flour and the sweet chili sauce, scallions and cilantro gave it an added flavor to the freshness of the wings.
Deveka was being “vegetarian” for a while. Thus I ordered the Emerald vegetarian dumplings served
with a ginger soy sauce. Quite a good mixture in the dumplings tasting just fine without any meat.
At this time I stray from the Pad Thai and selected the Drunk Man Noodle dish with chicken. Wide wheat based noodles are used in this vs. the Pad Thai cooked with rice noodles. It was sautéed with chili, onions, vegetables and basil that is not the same as basil used in Italian dishes. Dealt with the chili to find how delectable the combination is.
Sauteed is another group listed on the menu and one of many groups that you choose from: chicken, tofu, veggie, duck, beef, or shrimp and priced by the chosen protein. We opted for total veggie with the Japanese Eggplant in Hot Sweet Basil. It was sautéed with fresh garlic, onions and chili with a basil sauce. Tofu was the protein. Deveka was thrilled and I loved it as well.
On a different visit I guess that I was in the mood for chicken as the Grilled Lemongrass Chicken was one of the Specialties that I opted for. The marinated half of a chicken is served with a plum sauce and some veggies. The marinade is not spicy and the plum chili sauce is perfect as even though it had a bit of spiciness, the plum adds a bit of sweetness.
I did one more time as I wanted to stray from the usual with something “more challenging” and ordered a lunch of the Massaman Curry dish with beef having tasted this type of curry before. It’s a sweet and mild curry with potatoes and peanuts. The secret’s in the sauce. There was only a bit of kick due to some red pepper flakes. Otherwise, the curry seemed to have a base of coconut milk.
I decided to sample another lunch special of chicken Hawaiian Fresh Ginger with onions, ginger, scallions, vegetables and mushrooms in a ginger sauce. Ginger is in thin strips. Rather than their regular jasmine rice, I opted to splurge for the coconut rice. I associate Hawaiian food with having pineapple or poi. I guess I need to look into Hawaiian cuisines more. Despite my wanting to feel like I was in Hawaii during these cold days, the food only warmed my stomach.
There are only a few desserts to choose from, one of which is the fried ice cream. Vanilla ice cream is thickly coated so that when fried, the crust becomes crispy without the ice cream melting. Topped with whipped cream and some chocolate sauce swirls. I’m full just writing about this!