Dining Panel review: Fresh ingredients, friendly service the norm at Thai Tradition

04/04/2013 2:39 PM

04/04/2013 2:39 PM

Thai Tradition is one of those restaurants that used to be a staple in our dining rotation, but for whatever reason, we rarely visit anymore. No bad experience, no bad memories. We moved west, and alas, Thai Tradition stayed east.

With the profusion of new (or new to us) restaurants to try, this reliable standard just dropped off our radar. But when the entire family was craving spring rolls, Thai Tradition was the only option that we considered. It was as good as, if not better than, we remembered, so we returned a week later. It’s safe to say that it is securely back on our rotation.

While the decor could use an update (it features hunter green and dark red circa 1992), the interior is clean and comfortable. The lighting is dim, which makes for bad pictures for Dining Panel reviews but provides nice ambiance. Also, while it seems most restaurants are getting louder and louder, Thai Tradition is comfortably quiet, making an actual conversation during dinner possible. Shocking, I know.

The service is impeccable and exceptionally friendly, and water glasses are always full, which seems an important point to make in a Thai restaurant. Servers are happy to help with thoughtful recommendations if you find yourself having difficulty deciding from the fantastic options.

For appetizers during our recent visit, we ordered the famous (to us, anyway) and much-craved spring rolls and chicken satay. When I say their spring rolls are the best I’ve ever had, I’m not exaggerating. They’re huge, and the vegetables are incredibly fresh. Diners can order them with shrimp in addition to the veggies, but I prefer mine sans shrimp. The chicken satay is pretty standard — but very tasty.

For the purposes of this review, we tried some different dishes from what we typically order. My daughter ordered my standard dish, the cashews with chicken. It’s packed with cashews and crunchy veggies in a delicious sauce. On our two visits, I tried the mussman curry dish and the drunken noodles with chicken. The curry was fantastic and incredibly filling. I ate only half of it and still felt like I needed a nap afterward. With a coconut curry sauce, peanuts, beef and potatoes, it is a perfect meal for a freezing-cold day. The drunken noodles with chicken was very good, but I could do without the tomatoes in it.

My husband typically orders the three types of mushrooms with tofu, which he raves about. If mushrooms are your thing, give it a try. On our second visit, my husband tried the fresh basil with beef. Considering his obsession with the mushroom dish, it speaks volumes that he said he would definitely order the fresh basil again.

All of Thai Tradition’s dishes are packed with fresh ingredients. No mushy, tasteless veggies here. The portions are good-sized as well, and everything is reasonably priced. Most entrees are in the $10 to $15 range. As for alcohol, the wine selection is rather lacking, but they do offer decent bottled beer choices.

Thai Tradition offers lunch specials (an entree, soup, egg roll and crab rangoon), and from what I’ve noticed while dining in, does a great deal of take-out business as well.

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