Thai Express is a restaurant that could be classified as a “hole in the wall” because on the outside it does not look like much, but the food blows you away.
Located on Kalamazoo Ave in Kentwood, Thai Express is tucked back in a strip mall among different ethnic restaurants. The drive from Cascade or Ada is over 20 minutes, and right now, there is construction on the main road to get there. So, be prepared for a bit of a long drive. Once you get there, you might be turned off from the appearance of the area, but don’t let that discourage you from going. It is worth it.
When you walk in, you will not see the usual decorations or design of other Asian restaurants like First Wok, PF Chang’s, Osaka, or Maru. The restaurant is small and could fit about 80 people. Inside, there is not much to its appearance; it has blue walls, dark carpets, bright overhead lights, and few pictures on the wall. There are booths and tables covered with red and white plaid tablecloths, and you can pick where you would like to sit. When I sat down, I was greeted by a kind and smiling server.
The service was fast, and our waitress was very nice about any questions I had on the menu. She took our drink orders, gave us some time to look over the menu, and then came back to take our orders like any other restaurant.
The menu has a lot of choices with appetizers, soups, salads, Thai curry, Thai seafood, Thai noodles, and other Thai specialties. All of the main dishes can be made with the choices of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and with a spice level between one and ten. I got the pad thai with beef and a spice level of one since I am a baby when it comes to spicy food. My mom got Pad Bai Ho Ra Pa (Stir Fried Sweet Basil) at a spice level of four. We also got chicken satay and the Tom Yum Num Kon soup with spice level three to share.
After we ordered, we got served a complimentary warm, crispy spring roll. The spring roll comes with a sweet and sour chili sauce for dipping. Then, we got our appetizers which were the chicken satay and soup. The soup is made for two and served in a tall heated bowl with two smaller bowls to serve yourself from the main bowl. It wasn’t overly spicy, and the broth was the best part; however, the vegetables and chicken in it were cooked till tender. It was what my mom would call the perfect sick soup because it clears out your sinuses. The satay was the same as almost every other Thai restaurant that you would order it at; it came with 6 pieces, peanut sauce, and a cucumber salad. Next, our main courses came out on big white, nicely-plated platters. The pad thai was made with thin rice noodles and topped with peanuts, green onions, bean sprouts, and eggs. The peanuts added an extra crunchy and salty flavor to the dish. Mixed in the noodles, there were small pieces of juicy beef.
For a total of three main dishes and one appetizer, the bill was $35 dollars. The food was a good price for the amount we got, and we even had leftovers to take home. Your receipt comes out with fortune cookies, mints, and either little cheesecake bites or ice cream.
I would definitely go back to Thai Express because of the quality of the food and how welcomed my mom and I felt at the restaurant. If you are going towards that way or want some authentic Thai food, head on over.