Tongue-searing satisfaction at SukhoThai

I love Thai food. There’s just something about the rich curries and fried noodles accented with fiery peppers, peanuts and exotic fruits (like coconut, papaya and pineapple) that make me one happy camper. A kind of psychosis takes over and no matter how full I get, I can’t stop eating until the dish is done. I’ll be rolling out the door, smacking my lips and stuffed to the gills, yet I am tempted to order another dish to take home.

Not too long ago, my friend Anne and I decided to turn up the heat and try an oh-so-spicy lunch at SukhoThai on Magazine Street.  The cavernous, sparsely decorated restaurant was only partially full when we arrived around noon. We were quickly seated at a table near the front window and offered ice water to guzzle while we perused the menu. There was a large selection of items, so it took us a while to choose, but we finally came to a decision and sat back to wait.

Since there were so many tasty-sounding appetizers to choose from, we opted for the SukhoThai Sampler that included an Ahi Katsu Roll, Veggie Rolls and a couple Shrimp-in-a-Pouch. Although all of it was tasty, what really stood out was the pristinely pink Ahi Katsu Roll which was served with a mango tomato salsa and the most delicious yellow curry dip. The dip, while visually unappealing (green and orange blob anyone?) was so extremely divine that we dipped everything in it…including our forks and fingers.

Although the wait between our appetizer and entree was a tad long, especially considering the server to diner ratio, we still couldn’t help smiling with pleasure as our dishes came out pipping hot and served with a large bowl of sticky rice to share. Anne ordered the Crispy Pork & Chinese Broccoli that featured fried pork belly served atop a stew of stir-fried broccoli, garlic and red bell pepper in an oyster sauce. You can specify the level of spiciness you can handle and Anne braved the extreme “Thai hot,” which is as hot as you can go at SukhoThai. I scored a few bites and I enjoyed the dish, and though it was pretty spicy, it was not intolerable for a lover of heat like Anne. The pork belly seemed all too much like cracklins to me, but we both agreed that the flavor popped once it soaked in the sauce for a bit.

I wimped out with my dish of Grilled Mahi Green Curry, I took it down just a notch to simply “hot,” though I didn’t detect a huge difference in heat level between my dish and Anne’s. My dish featured a huge filet of Mahi-Mahi served in a large bowl of green curry and coconut milk with zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper and basil. The aroma was delightful and the curry and vegetables were absolutely delicious, especially when spooned over a blob of their slightly sweet sticky rice. The fish was tasty too, but a little overcooked and without the green curry, it would have been rather dry.

In general, I am not a huge stickler on service. I figure if the food’s good, I can put up with all manner of things. But I have to say, our server was woefully inattentive seeing as I had to actually get up and walk over to the servers chatting at the bar to finally get some chopsticks.

All in all, it was an enjoyable lunch, albeit pricey. Next time I’ll probably order their lunch special that would only put me back $8.95 instead of $18.95. Oh well, live and learn!

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  1. I had a similar experience there and I was nearly the only diner. I used a half-price Groupon and I thought that they might not have "liked" that, but I tipped on a full price basis. I was happy with the food, but decided it was a bit pricey had I not had the aforementioned discount.

    And having had Thai roommates, I can attest to the fact that they are very proud not to use chopsticks.

  2. Well, we didn't expect chopsticks really. It's just that our server wasn't paying attention to us at all. We kept trying to flag him down to get refills, napkins, to order some chai, some more rice, chopsticks…all to no avail. I had to walk up to them. They were plenty attentive when it came time to pay the check though.

  3. Except sometimes for noodle dishes, chopsticks aren't generally used in Thai food, so it's understandable your server didn't anticipate your need. Now, if you didn't have any utensils that's a different matter . . .

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