(Note from Stu: This review is the first of hopefully many reviews by new gastronimicslc.com contributor Corrinne. Corrinne is another SLC resident with a passion for both food and writing. Anyway without further ado, Corrinne’s review of Thai Garden…)
Friday nights are always an eating toss up in our house. Should we hunker down, eat at home and avoid the weekend crowds, or make our way into the night and join the throngs of restaurant goers? I must admit that sometimes the allure of leaving the nest is merely the thought of someone else doing the dishes, but last Friday night all I could think about was the food I was craving – Thai!
After rounding up a couple of friends to join me, we all converged on Thai Garden (4410 South 900 East) for a very tasty, although impossible for me to pronounce, meal. Upon opening their front door that evening we discovered the place was packed. I was a bit concerned about this because the waiting area next to the front door is tiny and it was cold outside! Luckily, we were seated fairly quickly and soon were perusing the extensive menu.
In the past when I’ve visited Thai Garden I’ve always gravitated toward the non-fried spring rolls (Por Pia Sod) as a starter, but because my friend is allergic to shrimp we instead opted for the fried version called Por Pia Tod. (4.99).
They were good, not greasy at all, but I have to admit I like the brighter flavors of the fresh version better. We also opted for a large order of the Tom Kha soup ($10.99), which I hadn’t had before.
The soup comes in a fun serving dish with a little Sterno-like heater in the middle, but the ladle that came with it was a bit too large and it was difficult to serve with.
With a little perseverance though, we were soon eating the piquant, coconut milk and lime concoction. Let me repeat – lime! My taste buds were very pleased with this soup.
Next came our entrees; Guay Teaw Pad Kee Mao ($9.99), with perfectly cooked rice noodles, crisp-tender veggies, and a perfectly balanced spicy sauce.
Then the Chef’s Recommended Pra Ram ($9.99), a mix of steamed veggies covered with a peanut sauce. I must admit I only tasted a little bit of this one because I’m not a huge peanut fan. My friends, however, really enjoyed it and reported that peanut eaters wouldn’t be disappointed.
And finally, the Chef’s Special Moo Pad Makau Yaew ($11.99), which is eggplant, Thai basil, and garlic stir fried with ground pork.
The sauce on this one was decidedly different that the previous spicy sauce, which I think sometimes isn’t the case at many Asian restaurants. My only complaint (if you can call it that) is that the eggplant and ground pork created sort of a texture mis-match for me. The eggplant already has a meaty texture (and chefs at Thai Garden know how to cook it so it’s perfectly tender and not greasy), so the additional ground pork seemed to be a little over the top for me. It tasted great, but I think I would have preferred chunks of pork or even tofu in this dish.
We capped the meal off with a couple of desserts.
I ordered the Fresh Mango with Sweet Sticky Rice ($5.99) and my friends ordered the Green Tea Ice cream ($2.99).
I really should know better than to order fruit out of season, so the mango wasn’t really very sweet, but the rice was delicious. And funny enough the green tea ice cream (which is normally pretty toned down at other places I’ve tried it), was very sweet. All in all, they were a good dessert combo to share.
I should also remark here that even though the place was bustling, the service was prompt and friendly, and even though their kitchen must have been slammed that night, the food didn’t suffer in quality at all. Thai Garden pleases on all fronts, and as an additional bonus, I didn’t have to do the dishes!
4410 S 900 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84124