Lai Thai: decent at best


Considering Thai fried rice has become an almost weekly necessity for me, I did anything but hesitate upon hearing that there was a Thai restaurant in the area that I had yet to try. Within a week, I found an excuse to drag my mother- a fellow Thai-food-devotee- along with me.

This particular restaurant, Lai Thai, was a little ways away on Leonard Street. When we rolled up to the place, inconspicuously sandwiched into a random strip mall, we were beckoned in with loud, joyful voices streaming out of their open doors.

It was decorated like every other Thai restaurant, adorned with traditional tapestries, paintings, vases, etc., all coming together like a unique patchwork of character and personality. This design scheme, though not exactly extraordinary in originality, created a welcoming and comforting aura that I couldn’t be dissatisfied with.

With barely a glance at the menu, I knew I would be requesting my standard order for all Thai restaurants: fried rice and green curry. However, what did catch my eye on the menu was that Lai Thai provides vegetarian/vegan options. Though this did not specifically affect my meal, I was impressed with the inclusiveness of a dietary option that is not very common among Asian restaurants.

The service was excellent. While we waited in anticipation for our food, we were entertained by the antics of the owner exchanging playful banter with the cooks in the back. And, our server was very sweet and accommodating.

In terms of the quality of the food itself, I was satisfied, but nothing more. The fried rice looked immaculate in appearance, yet was lackluster in taste. The dish could have definitely used more flavor. Furthermore, I found it to be a bit dry. Nonetheless, the green curry was fairly tasty. The texture was very smooth, and the medium level spice we requested provided a nice balance of sweet and spicy. As an added bonus, drizzling the curry over the fried rice made for a thoroughly delicious combination.

To put it simply, though I can’t call my meal disappointing, it didn’t dazzle me. The service and general feel of the restaurant were great, but the food was only decent. To be frank, it is nothing worth making the 10-15 minute drive again for; I certainly won’t be abandoning my beloved Little Bangkok anytime soon.