Budget Crunch: Taste of Thai
As fervent fans of the cuisine, my husband and I are always interested in trying new Thai restaurants, whether at home or on vacation. We must not be the only such obsessed diners, because from New York City to Sydney there are as many genuinely delicious restaurants as there are imposters. How fortunate that there are several arguably authentic options right here in Buffalo—with many more in Toronto.
This was my first time dining at Taste of Thai, and it smells delicious even before you walk through the doors. Red, yellow, and green curry, spicy chilies, turmeric, cilantro, and Thai basil waft down Hertel to usher you into the restaurant. It’s a lovely bonus that it smells welcoming, because the physical space itself is a bit dark and uninspired, especially in the evening. Thankfully, the aromatic ingredients in the kitchen and your server’s cheerful demeanor help make the dining room more inviting.
The menu offers a great deal to choose from, including appetizers, soups, noodles, fried rice, stir-fried entrees, salads, curry, and plenty of specials. For lunch, there are about thirty inexpensive dishes to choose from. The sheer size of the menu ensures that both experienced diners and those new to Thai will likely find several dishes that sound enticing.
We started our dinner with a fresh roll ($3.95)—two vegetable rolls wrapped with rice paper and stuffed with lettuce, mint, bean sprouts, carrots, and cilantro. If you’re a cilantro fan, you’re in luck; it gives the raw rolls a punch of flavor. The dipping sauce evokes flavors of hoisin and peanut sauce, and its depth is a pleasant complement to the light rolls.
My husband ordered pud Thai with chicken ($8.95)—flat, thin noodles sautéed with eggs, bean sprouts, and scallions, and served with peanut sauce—which didn’t offer many surprises. The dish is saucier and sweeter than most I’ve had, but was well seasoned and full of spice.
A weakness for coconut curry means that my pantry is incessantly filled with ingredients to make red and green variations. I rarely hesitate when a spicy coconut sauce is an option. This time, though, the pud met muang with shrimp sounded more exciting. A red curry stir-fried dish, it features sautéed cashews, mushrooms, Napa cabbage, bamboo shoots, Thai basil, scallions, carrots, and Chinese broccoli with your choice of meat, seafood, or tofu. Each element of the conglomerate fits together harmoniously. The sauce is a slightly less rich option when compared to one made with coconut milk, but it is packed with flavor. The dish is a bit oily, but it’s a stir-fry after all.
When you order at Taste of Thai, you will be presented with the option to rate your spiciness level on a scale of one to four. We ordered both dishes at level two. If you are unable or unwilling to eat spicy, take note: At least on this occasion, number two was equivalent to somewhere between medium and hot.
Taste of Thai offers reasonably priced dishes that are ideal for sharing. Their generous portions translate well to family-style dining or bringing home leftovers to look forward to. The restaurant has a steady take-out business, which I consider a promising sign. Taste of Thai also offers free wi-fi and BYOB.
Taste of Thai
1460 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo
Nina Barone is a marketing-communications professional and adventurous home cook. Equipped with a spice rack consisting of three full pantry shelves, she enjoys feeding one or a crowd. You can read her blog at buffalofoodie.com.