Sweet Mango Rice. David Connors
Noi Thai Restaurant
10724 95 Street
Conveniently located with parking on the corner of 107A Avenue and 95 Street, you could drive by Noi Thai Restaurant thinking it the front of a small convenience store. The door is humble, but like most things in McCauley, there’s a wide experience behind it. Noi has taken the place of the old Viphalay, the Thai and Laotian restaurant formerly owned by a member of the same family. In Thai, noi is an adjective meaning “young” as in “young child” or “young girl,” and in this case, “Young Thai Restaurant.” New perhaps, but full of promise.
We are the first to arrive early on a Sunday evening. A delivery guy looking for a takeout order shows up shortly after, followed by a pair of friends and another couple. The place is surprisingly spacious on the inside. Most of the décor is familiar, but the tables have been dressed in stately mulberry pink cloths, laid with traditional long-handled cutlery, and white china with fluted edging. The service here is nothing short of gracious. And the food, once ordered, appears lightning fast.
My partner, wanting a lighter dish, chooses the traditional Tom Yum soup with jumbo shrimp, which arrives in a boat of a dish, more than enough for two people to share. The broth gives off hints of sweet and sour, kaffir lime, basil, onions, and lemongrass; the fresh tomatoes are just cooked enough. “This is as good as the picture,” my partner says between spoonfuls. I try the brown Massamun curry because I like the sweet and smoky taste of tamarind, mixed with potatoes, onions, crunchy roasted peanuts, and chicken. I ask for a small order of coconut rice on the side. The potatoes are firm and hold their place in the curry.
I cannot resist the dessert menu. My partner contemplates the deep fried bananas rolled in syrup or chocolate, but I go for the sweet mango rice, made with coconut milk and syrup, flanked by two perfectly cut halves of one mango. “How did they cut the mango?” Neither of us could figure that one out.
The Tom Yum with shrimp was $17, curry $16, coconut rice $3.50, and sweet mango rice, for two, $10.
_Audrey lives in Boyle Street. To learn about her blog and her books, visit audreywhitson.com