Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
When lawyer George Butler asked if I'd had the Fried Calamari at Thai Kitchen, I told him I hadn't, and then remembered my last eating experience there well over a year ago. It wasn't a bad meal, but it wasn't a great meal either! Truth be known, I was still seeking the fabulous Thai food experience I'd once enjoyed at that legendary Thai restaurant, Pim's Place, which has been closed for nearly 4 years. So, would you believe that my quest was fulfilled at Thai Kitchen since the new owner, Toy McGurk, used to be the cook at Pim's and has brought her talents, fresh herbs, and recipes to her new home.
When I walked in during lunch the other day, I was amazed by the large crowd of diners--they have seating for 40 people, so don't be disappointed if you find the tables are full. Try to get there earlier or take a later lunch since they are open longer hours during the week. The decor was substantially improved, with stunning original Thai art pieces adorning the walls. Thai music played softly in the background, relaxing my pace with it's mesmerizing cadence.
Since I was alone, I decided to have the Thai Kitchen Appetizer - a combination of Spring Rolls and Fried Calamari ($8.00) to start, followed up with a Green Papaya Salad ("Som Tom" - for $7.00), and rounded out with a main course, the Chicken Curry ("Gang Gai" for $8.00).
I was guided in my selections by Toy's personable daughter, Angie, who gave me a quick education on the menu options and ingredients. Stunned by the large portions of golden battered Calamari and big crisp Spring Rolls that were delivered in front of me shortly after, I found myself wishing for company with whom to share this feast. George was right about the Calamari...it was worth eating...every bite of it! The red chili sauce provided gave it a piquant zing, making it irresistible.
The Spring Rolls were cut in four pieces (which is actually a half order), and comes with a sweet dipping sauce. I noted that the wrappers were crisp and had minimal oil. They were stuffed with a tasty combination of minced beef, shredded carrots, and rice noodles. The less vegetables inside the longer these will last once refrigerated. These Spring Rolls were quite good, but you have to be a meat eater to enjoy them. The Papaya Salad ("Som Tom") arrived and was a delight to behold. The ornate blue and white Thai serving dish was filled with a pile of shredded green papaya, fresh tomatoes, string beans, ample roasted peanuts, and smothered with a spicy (not hot, though) sauce. Large carrot and cucumber wedges garnished one side of the dish. The flavors were immensely fresh and stimulated my palate. It was truly healthy eating.
The Chicken Curry ("Gang Gai") was served steaming in a bowl with a side dish of white rice. The Curry's rich aroma promised more intense sensations and I spooned on a generous helping of red and green peppers, eggplant, bamboo shoots, fresh lime leaf, Thai basil, and chunks of tender chicken. The meal was savory, and I'd ordered the "Mild" version, which was still a full-flavored blend of fresh herbs, home-made curry pastes and coconut milk. This was good eating.
Aside from the Papaya Salad, there are six other vegetarian dishes, including Tofu with Mixed Vegetables ($8.00) and Vegetable Fried Rice ($7.00). There are also six additional salads, with meat versions featuring Beef, Chicken, Shrimp, Squid, and Seafood. The prices range from $7.00 - $12.00. There are over 60 items on Thai Kitchen's menu, so I think it's best for you to pay them a visit and read up on those items you'd like to try. When ordering at Thai Kitchen, please be patient, as this is not "fast food"...each dish is prepared fresh, so don't be disappointed if you have to wait. This restaurant is a great place to relax and enjoy sharing a meal with a companion or friends...that's exactly what I'm going to do on my next visit - that way I can sample more dishes!! See you there!