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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Greenville (NC) Eats: Thai Kitchen

It's gotta be tough being a Thai restaurant when the best is usually found in something like a 7-Eleven. I'm sure there's a statistic somewhere out there that shows how bad Thai gets in relation to the quality of dining facility. Case in point: Thai Kitchen is located in a wonderfully obscure part of town in a strip mall. Like all frighteningly ominous but good Thai places, Thai Kitchen hits all the right notes where it counts - in the food. Those who take a chance and walk in will even find a surprisingly warm atmosphere in the modest dining room despite the less-than-stellar appearance outside.

While all the usual suspects are on the list, Thai Kitchen features a brief, but satisfying specials menu armed with what may be one of the best bites in town - pla chu chee. A crispy tempura fish served hot off the stove with a spicy, creamy chu chee curry, it's a wonderfully savory bite that never ceases to impress. A similar dish, the pla sam rod, takes a similar approach with crispy fish covered in tamarind sauce. Unlike the pla chu chee's savory bite, the pla sam rod features a bold sweet, spicy, and sour kick that offers more depth then the pla chu chee, but it's got a lot of sweetness to it that makes it a bit of a harder dish to finish. Mixed vegetables help cut through the sweetness, but this is definitely a dish best left shared.

Most of Thai Kitchen's menu is extremely friendly to new members, offering flavors that everyone can comfortably dig into and enjoy. For those a bit unfamiliar with the various colored curries, red tends to be a bit sweeter then the average - a safe bet for newcomers. Green curry features a fresh chili paste that cranks up the heat, while panang and mussaman tends to lean toward the savory. For those a bit less adventurous, the special's menu features some interesting choices like general Thai chicken, a slight twist on the classic Chinese fast food staple, and rama chicken, a peanuty-dish full of rich flavor. Anyone looking to cut the spice a bit may want to try the sweet and creamy Thai ice tea to cool things down.

No Reservations, The Shakedown on Thai Kitchen
Atmosphere: Surprisingly comfortable for a couple or group.
Cost: Diverse range, but slightly on the pricey side for most. 9+
Try: The pla chu chee.

The Final Verdict
Thai Kitchen also offers sushi, but its namesake is easily the highlight. Those on a budget may want to check out lunch time when the prices take a friendly cut. The restaurant is by no means in the most convenient of places to eat in relation to East Carolina University, but is certainly worth the time and effort for quality that Thai Kitchen produces. One of Greenville's best.

Thai Kitchen & Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon


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