My wife first introduced me to Thai cuisine about two years ago. I had never been a particularly adventurous eater, but something about attempting authentic Thai dishes sounded appealing.
We dined in a small restaurant in Rockville Centre, where I scanned the menu for something perfectly Thai, deciding on a baked whole fish in lemongrass broth and Thai spices. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t exactly exhilarate me. It wasn’t something I imagined myself ordering again, however I was not deterred from attempting another dish a week later. I am proud to say I am now an avid fan of Thai food, either dining out or attempting to cook it myself at least once a week, usually twice. Our pantry is stocked with all manner of Thai spices and curries, and our recipe book has blossomed with Thai additions.
As for my favorite dish, while my wife prefers a yellow curry with shrimp, my own desire turns toward a delicious medley of Thai spices, flat noodles, basil, garlic, onion, red peppers, and either chicken or shrimp. With just the right amount of spices, it excites the palette without overpowering it.
It was with great happiness that my wife and I spied a Thai place opening on Main Street in Smithtown some time ago. Smithtown boasted restaurants of almost every ethnicity, but Thai was not among them until recently.
Thai House is quaint, the service is friendly and quick, and if you are a fan of Thai, you will not be disappointed. The restaurant serves faithful renditions of Thai cuisine, and with the menu appearing very similar to that of the establishment in Rockville Centre, I had no trouble locating my favorite and ordering it promptly every time I dined here. For an appetizer, I always chose Angel Shrimp; plump shrimp fried in a thin pastry crust, served with a mildly spiced plum sauce, though the other selection, such as Chicken Satay, were equally delightful. The chicken was fresh and tender, and the peanut sauce was quite flavorful.
Aside from the various curries and the signature Tom Kai Gai soup, a spicy coconut broth with chicken, Thai House offered various fish and vegetable dishes. The restaurant is not afraid to skimp on the spice, but will adjust accordingly to your palette if requested. For a simple Thai meal, Thai House is an obvious choice.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous and you desire to dine in a more extravagant setting, head over to Thai Angel in Islandia, just a short trip from Smithtown. Opening to rave reviews in less than a year, it has already gathered a loyal following of regulars, including my wife and I. Much larger than Thai House, and more luxuriously decorated with
Thai sculptures and design, it is difficult to find something to dislike about Thai Angel.
Except, perhaps, for the wait.
If you are unfortunate enough to arrive on a particularly busy night, as most weekends usually are, the wait times for the food can stretch to as much as an hour, which is frustrating enough if you are hungry, but if you smell the tantalizing aromas of the dishes on other nearby tables, it is absolutely torturous. But there is a plausible reason for such a wait.
To ensure the authenticity of each Thai dish, they must be prepared separately from each other so that there is no mingling of flavors, and the lone chef, (also part-owner), takes great pride in his craft, rather than rushing each meal to the table.
The superb craft in which each dish is created, sauteed, cooked, simmered, and presented is evident when the food arrives, and the wait is suddenly worthwhile.
The heavenly aromas of food and spice sing a melody to your senses, and your mouth waters while your taste buds prepare themselves for the adventure.
Presentation is also a factor here, as each particular dish has a unique way of being offered that is both practical and enjoyable to the eye. Curries arrive in clay pots set atop a stand in which a candle keeps the dish hot. Fish arrives on a long platter in the shape of a fish, and Spicy Thai Basil Noodles arrive on a heart shaped platter, also significant, because you will love this dish. But presentation does not override value, as you will find a generous portion set before you no matter what you order.
Offering the same fare as Thai House, the menu is enhanced by numerous additional fish, chicken, and vegetable dishes and exciting appetizers. You may want to order to plates of spring rolls, lest you find yourself fighting over them. The fried calamari with Thai dipping sauce is a nice treat, and the Chicken Satay is always a favorite.
The expanded menu allows ample room for experimentation, and indeed, my wife and I have already sampled many of the dishes and found them all wonderful, though I think she has a new favorite in the Crispy Fish, a generous portion of moist tilapia in a sinful crispy breading. It may in fact even rival the Yellow Curry, which is a champion of the house in its own right. One sniff of the rising steam is all you need to know, and you will undoubtedly find conversation disappears from the table as you are wholly engaged in your meal.
This is not to say that Thai House pales by comparison. Rather, there are two choices presented before you. For a casual but quick meal with a rather modest menu, Thai House is a practical choice. For a more unique flair, but slower-paced service, Thai Angel won’t disappoint.
No matter which establishment you prefer, be sure to sample the Thai Iced Tea, a drink that at once refreshes you after the most wearisome of days. And for dessert, both restaurants also offer among its items Fried Ice Cream, a simplistic dessert but effective in taste and texture; a generous scoop of cold ice cream surround by a warm fried pastry breading.
So if you aren’t afraid of a little spice and you find Thai food to your liking, I would expect you will soon add either Thai House or Thai Angel to your roster of restaurants to visit frequently.