No, not the A Taste of Thai that makes the colorfully packaged canned and boxed foods that you can buy in pretty much every grocery store. This A Taste of Thai is the latest link in a small chain based out of Twin Falls, and took over the space vacated by the Saigon Grill at the corner of Milwaukee and Emerald in Boise.
As much as I love Asian food, my scope is somewhat limited, consisting mainly of Japanese and (Americanized) Chinese. My experiences with Vietnamese and Thai cuisine have been good but somewhat limited. So, when A Taste of Thai opened recently near my office, I stopped by to grab a take-out menu. I noticed two things immediately. The first thing that struck me is that the new owners had definitely cleaned up the look of the place.
|The dining room, hopefully rarely this empty|
The second thing that grabbed me was the smell. I’ve had problems getting people into Asian markets because of odors. The rich variety of spices and seasonings used in Asian cuisine is pretty diverse, and can create a pungent mix. I have to admit that I myself have walked in to a few restaurants and immediately turned around and left because of conflicting or overwhelming smells causing me to lose my appetite. In this case, the aromas that enveloped me once inside the restaurant immediately lit the pilot on my salivary glands. I knew I would have to return, the sooner the better.
Regardless of how much I love Asian food and the proliferation and popularity of Thai eateries in the Boise area, I’ve only ever eaten at one other, Siam Thai on Overland Road in Meridian. On that occasion, I had Massamun Lamb. While I loved it, it was a bit sweeter than I was expecting. I was craving something more stereotypically Thai when I returned to A Taste of Thai, especially since I’ve been trying to train myself to eat spicier foods so my gal will stop calling me a wimp. I had heard much about Pad Thai and its role as a gateway dish to the greater world of Thai food, so that’s what I got.
I know that those of you who are more experienced are chuckling about my naïveté, but for my fellow uninitiated let me simply say that Pad Thai is not a spicy dish, but rather a sweet/tangy one. Even though that was definitely not the flavor I was craving at the moment, the dish was still very good. The thick, almost fettuccine-style rice noodles were cooked perfectly. I opted for the chicken variety and the chicken was just fine, but I was so impressed with the fried tofu that I would have gladly traded the chicken for more of it. The bean sprouts had just enough snap left to them, the green onions were used judiciously, and the chopped peanuts added a little flavor and some very welcome texture.
I want to return to A Taste of Thai again soon, but interestingly enough there is another Thai restaurant just a few blocks up the road from them that I will likely try first. In the meantime, you could do a lot worse than to check them out yourself. And if you have any recommendations looking to try some (moderately) spicy Thai dishes, feel free to share!