Service: 5 out of 5
Price: Moderately inexpensive
In December, Khao Thai Restaurant introduced authentic Thai food to Erie.
Located at 36 N. Park Row in the Boardwalk Complex, Khao Thai is becoming the newest hot spot for spicy curry, steamed dumplings, Tofu and other traditional Thai dishes.
On a Friday evening, my friends and I drove to Khao Thai unsure what to expect of Thai cuisine. We were able to find free parking along the street since it was after 6 p.m. However, parking is metered anytime prior, so be sure to bring your quarters if you decide to do lunch.
Upon entering the small restaurant, I noticed almost every seat was taken. Khao Thai seats approximately 60 customers, but somehow we were able to sit down immediately in a booth near a window overlooking Perry’s Square.
Needless to say, Khao Thai has already grown in popularity.
Our server greeted us shortly after we sat down, gave us menus and took our drink orders. We all ordered water, and my one friend ordered Thai lemonade.
Fingering through the menu, I was unsure of what to order. A novice at Thai foods, I tried to get out of my sweet-and-sour pork comfort zone by ordering Pad Thai, a Thai national noodle dish of thin rice noodles stir-fried with bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, scallions and egg.
My friend, more brave than I, ordered Green Curry, your choice of meat simmered in a traditional green coconut curry sauce with bamboo shoots, eggplant, bell pepper and fresh basil leaves.
My other friend ordered Bangkok Beef, sliced flank steak marinated in sesame oil and spices, pan-fried and topped with shredded fresh ginger and pickled vegetables.
Too curb our craving for Thai food, we also ordered the Thai Sampler, a combination of chicken Satay, crispy rolls, steamed dumplings, fried calamari and fried Tofu.
While waiting for our appetizer to arrive, I observed my surroundings. A picture of Thai women gathering vegetables in kayak-looking boats hung on the wall above our booth along with other oriental décor. In addition to the servers, young boys bused empty tables and refilled glasses with water.
The service was extremely quick because the Thai Sampler was delivered to us five minutes after we ordered. Each sample arrived in pairs, so we all tried a bite of each. Similar to a chicken ka-bob, the Satay was marinated in Thai spices and served in a unique cucumber peanut relish.
Each sample was served in a tasty sauce though my favorite was the fried Tofu because of its honey-sweet sauce with crushed peanuts.
Even though I found a few bites of the appetizer filling, I happily welcomed my meal, which arrived only a few minutes after we finished.
A new taste to my palette, the Pad Thai noodles were juicy and filling. The egg and chicken was dispersed randomly throughout the noodles while the peanuts gathered on the side to mix at your own discretion.
My friends allowed me to taste their Green Curry and Beef, which both came with a side of white rice. Initially, the sweet taste of the Green Curry’s coconut sauce rejoiced on my taste buds but shortly after, a punch of spiciness had me reaching for my glass of water.
Sweet and spicy, the Green Curry will entertain your palette and have you applaud for an encore. Seasoned and marinated to perfection, the beef was well-cooked and savory.
All Khao Tai entrees and salads can be made vegetarian and enjoyed Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Overall, our experience at Khao Thai was relaxing, enjoyable and fun. If you are willing to try something new, Thai food is for you.