Ban Thai. Holy jeebus, I’m pretty sure I’ve passed this little Thai restaurant more times than I care to count. I’ve always noticed the sign driving by but stopping for a bite to eat never crossed my mind until now. I guess it’s because when you live in the area, you take things for granted. That or you just stay at home to cook. At least that’s my train of thought.
A buddy and I decided to check Ban Thai out on a Tuesday evening. We arrived at 6:30pm and the place was pretty empty. There were two other groups of five that came later while we were eating but for the most part, it wasn’t too busy. That’s probably good because our server, leaning towards the ancient side of things (but super nice), was a tad on the slow side. No biggie though as the slow pace goes with the relaxed vibe and interesting, eclectic décor. The walls are plastered with Thai paintings and man, the menus sure are old.
Speaking of the menus, they had a couple “suggested combinations” but I’m not sure why you’d order that when you can go a la carte style and the price comes out pretty much equal. Combos are supposed to be deals no?!?! They probably should take a page out of Million Thai’s playbook.
Po taek (#12) ($10.00)
Spicy sour mixed seafood soup with tomatoes and mushrooms. The lemongrass was prominent and gave it a nice sourness to the broth. I didn’t find it too spicy but there was some heat to it. Couple pieces of shrimp, squid and mussels were mixed in. Great way to start our meal.
Gaeng kiew waan (#54) ($12.50)
Creamy, green coconut curry with fresh basil, red and green peppers, snow peas and for meat, we picked chicken. We were both surprised by how dark the green curry looked like when it came out. It also had an interesting aroma – smelled something along the lines of mild coffee? Maybe we were losing our minds. Or it was the lighting. Definitely blame the lighting. It didn’t matter though because the green curry was spot on. Rich and creamy in a subtle way.
Kao mun (#27) ($4.00)
Thai rice steamed in coconut milk, aka. coconut rice. It says serves 2-3 people, but it’s more to 2 people. We probably could have ordered another bowl, as we ran out of rice to finish off the green curry. It was good though, fluffy and the coconut came through loud and clear.
Padt thai (#33) ($15.00)
The padt thai is their house specialty (according to the menu). Thin rice noodles fried soft with minced pork, baby shrimp, tofu, chives, egg, bean sprouts and topped with crushed roasted peanuts. We were impressed by how generous the portion was. It’s always a struggle finding a place that does this dish justice but they had the perfect balance of sweetness in their sauce.
Ban Thai is a sweet, sort-of-not-really hidden gem on the west end. Nice to see there are a few, emphasis on few, good spot on the West end for some good eats! Another Thai place in town to add to the list. I’ll be back to try a few more things now that I know they do the basics well.