In recent months, I’ve sampled a plethora of cuisines. Soul food? Check. Mexican? Check. Italian and Japanese? Check. Thai? Well, no, not yet.
I tasted Thai food years ago, and though I enjoyed it, I had no desire to try it again. As you may have guessed, my mind has changed.
At Expressgrub, Thai Basil is probably the most popular Asian restaurant being serviced. I look over their menu regularly and placing orders for dumplings, tofu and pad thai, made me second guess my Thai food drought.
I went to Thai Basil on a steamy Monday with my eating buddy (my sister). We were there to soak in the calming ambiance and dine to authentic food while the analgesic music cleansed our minds.
We ordered the fried tofu and chicken satay as our appetizers and the chicken pad Thai and spicy Korean noodles for our entrees.
This was both of our first times trying tofu and it was memorable to say the least. I will say, tofu isn’t my cup of tea, but the thick peanut plum sauce that accompanied it halfway changed my mind. I was able to eat a whole piece of the crispy vegetarian favorite by dunking it into that addictive sticky sauce.
The chicken satay was absolutely delicious. The flavors that stood out most on the juicy skewers were curry and turmeric. They gave a great warmth to the grilled chicken and had just enough spice to open up my senses. The pickled cucumbers and onions in the little dish next to the peanut sauce was my favorite part of the app. The vinegary “broth” that the finely diced vegetables sat in gave the well-marinated chicken a brightness that my palette appreciated. The peanut sauce reminded me of a traditional curry–beautiful, well-spiced and flavorful. I’d give this appetizer five stars and would order it repeatedly.
Our noodle entrees came in gorgeous deep pasta bowls. The pad thai was mine and there were mounds of bean sprouts, peanuts and chicken slices sitting on top of the rice noodles. I gave everything one big mix and proceeded to grub.
There were so many components to my meal, that I had to sort them out as I chomped viciously. The richness from the egg gave velvety smoothness. The bean sprouts and peanuts added a desirable crunch. I just wish I would have requested extra peanuts because I loved them so much in this dish. The thin chicken slices made the entire bowl heartier and more filling. I remember uttering to my sister how excellent this big ol’ bowl of hot noodles would be on a cold day (despite the fact that it was well over 85 degrees that day).
My sister let me taste her spicy noodles and I think I liked her entree more than my own.
Her bowl had lo mein noodles with an assortment of vegetables like carrots, broccoli, onions and kimchi. She added chicken for a little extra flavor and bite. I’ve had hundreds of lo meins before, but not many as masterfully prepared. The sour and spicy kimchi, the sweet and salty brown sauce, the creamy egg and crunchy carrots, broccoli and onions, made one heck of a fresh meal. Her dish was well-cooked and very well-balanced.
Without even finishing half of our meals, we were stuffed.
The atmosphere, service and food at Thai Basil were impressive. This would make a great date night spot, as it is cute, quaint and BYOB. For now, this will be the only place I venture to for geniune Thailand cuisine.