Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thai Chef Restaurant, 1971 East Beltline - 4/13/11

Opened last fall, the restaurant is located in the Knapp Corners retail center and is one of the best Thai restaurants in town. And there are plenty of them.

Like most Thai restaurants in Grand Rapids, the menu is huge (this one is seven pages) and they do not have a liquor license. Unlike many others, you will find a few more unusual offerings, and not ten spice levels, but four.

We enjoyed the warning on the menu: “We will not be held responsible for any dish that is too hot or not hot enough.”

It’s a pleasant atmosphere, complete with a carpeted floor, some traditional Asian artwork, and a few typical paper menu/dishes posters. Other than the employees regularly walking past us to use the what-must-be-the-only-restrooms-in-the-restaurant, the place has a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.  
We started with Chicken Satay and Mama’s Noodle Soup. The Chicken Satay wasn’t the best we’ve had. The marinade was not noticeable but the side of peanut sauce was quite flavorful.
The soup, however, was amazingly good. It consisted of Thai hot and sour broth, shredded lettuce, crushed peanuts, fresh bean sprouts, onions, cilantro, and the noodles. It was dished, with difficulty, with a spoon from a large bowl for two. We managed to serve ourselves and consume this wonderful soup but it all would have been easier with chopsticks for assistance with the noodles. (We didn’t think to ask for them until later.) This soup is worth a take-out or dine-in any time.
Our first entree was Gaeng Garee: potatoes, white onions, and snow peas in a yellow Thai curry sauce. The vegetables were perfectly cooked and not overdone, and the dish had the perfect level of heat but did not overwhelm the vegetables.
The second entree was from the Mang Noodle category that offered three choices, and ours was the Mang Peanut Curry Noodles. The thick round noodles were stir fired with white onions and red and green bell peppers, and served in a creamy Thai peanut and coconut curry sauce. We have to go back for more of these amazing noodles!
Don’t look for an inedible, desiccated slice of fruit with your meal here. The citrus accompaniments were fresh and the perfect antidotes to a very delicious, spicy lunch
Each of the entrees offered the following additions: chicken, tofu, vegetable (not sure if this would incorporate additional vegetables or just be the absence of any meat), beef, pork, shrimp, or scallops. Our choice for the Gaeng Garee was pork and for the Mang noodles, chicken.

Spice levels are described as follows: mild, medium, hot, Thai fire. We went with hot and it was perfect for us. But we could not have gone any hotter. We respected the fact that our server and the chef took us at our word and gave us the level for which we asked.

This has nothing to do with this particular restaurant but we have developed a finer appreciation of noodles after watching these two movies: “Tampopo” and “In the Mood for Love.” They come highly recommended and you will never look at noodles the same again.

The complete menu can be found online.

Thai Chef on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to have to try this place out. Thanks for the suggestion.