The west side, historically known for its dining vanilla-ness, has over the past year added several new ethnic restaurants. The latest is Sit @ Thai Bistro, a hip eatery with a 2009 name and approach.
The restaurant is in the space formerly occupied by Wong's and is owned by Nikki and Boyd Phumsawarng, who recently moved to Wichita from Hollywood, Calif.
ON THE MENU: The restaurant sells standard Thai dishes, including spring rolls, dumplings, pad Thai, drunken noodles, fried rice and a variety of curry dishes.
DON'T-MISS DISHES: Sit @ Thai Bistro doesn't serve the best Thai food in town. And it's not quite as good as its across-the-street competitor, Gindi Thai & Japanese Diner, 7010 W. 21st St.
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But many of the dishes are tasty, and the service and atmosphere make up for slight culinary shortcomings.
The best dish we tried, aside from some very tasty and attractively served egg rolls and stuffed pork dumplings (both $6 for an appetizer serving), was the Thai Spicy basil ($8), made with beef, green peppers and sweet basil and served with a side of rice. The beef was tender, and the basil flavor was perfectly pronounced.
Also good: the Thai spicy peanut chicken ($8), recommended by the wait staff. The peanut sauce was thick and satisfying with a slight curry flavor, and the dish was attractively served on a bed of peanuts. One complaint: We ordered it extra spicy and it arrived barely spicy.
The drunken noodles ($8), another staff recommendation, also were good. Made with spicy rice noodles, red bell peppers, onions and sweet basil, the dish was lacking in color but bursting with flavor.
The biggest disappointment was the pad Thai ($8), which was a tad too sweet and made with overly sticky rice noodles. It was made with chicken and shrimp, but the latter had an unpleasant fishy flavor.
We finished the meal pleasantly, though, with the restaurant's fried banana dessert ($4) —a generous, sharable serving of banana chunks deep-fried in crust and coated with honey and nuts.
AMBIENCE: The owners have remodeled the Wong's space, reserving one side of the restaurant for tables and the other side for a living room setting, complete with sofas and a big-screen television. Dinner can be ordered from the couches as well as from the tables.
PRICE RANGE: Reasonable. Most dishes are $8.
SERVICE: Good. The wait staff was attentive and prompt and rolled with the fact that our party included a couple of noisy children.