The Bangkok Taste that just opened downtown is the same folks that run the one in Jenison, which is one of our favorite Thai restaurant. Since it is about 3 blocks from where I work, I was pretty excited to try it.
The menu has a pretty standard Thai menu. If you haven’t tried Thai food, I can recommend three common dishes (I have had all three at this restaurant already).
- Pad Ped (red coconut curry). As with most Thai dishes, you can get this with chicken, beef, tofu or shrimp). I usually go for chicken. This is an wonderful dish. At this restaurant, medium means medium, not Grand Rapids medium. I am not brave enough to try hot. I usually get mild plus or medium depending on the mood. Other ingredients include the wonderful Asian egglplant, green peppers etc.
- Gang Keauw Warn (Green Curry). This is the ultimate in my estimation. It is also a coconut curry, but there is a lots of basil and an aromatic flavor to green curry that is to die for. The tricky part is how hot to order it. Green curry is a bit hotter than red and if you try to order it mild you lose some of the flavor as well. Medium is best , but it will be HOT!
- Pad Thai is the dish for the conservative in the group. It is a Thai classic and consists of rice noodles, vegetables, protein of your choice. It has a peanutty sauce and also bean sprouts with ground peanuts one top and a lemon to squeeze on. The one disappointment here is that they cook the bean sprouts in instead of giving them to you to add in fresh at the table.
With the exeption just mentioned, all three dishes were excellent (I had them on different visits, not all at once ;-)). Oh, some people would include Masaman currry as a fourth classic. To me potatoes don’t belong in Asian food and yellow curry isn’t as interesting. But give it a try if you must.
For some reason, I don’t usually get alcohol when I eat Thai. I don’t recall if they have a liquor license or not. I will say the hot tea is not particulary flavorful or notable.
The feeling of this place is difficult to describe. The building is large with high ceilings. It feels “too spacious” if that is possible. The owners have slowly added truly beautiful authentic Thai décor items including royal looking dresses . They play Thai music / theatrical videos that add to the athmosphere. the first time went, all the waitresses were definitely not asian, but the last time they had recruited a waitress we knew from the Jenison location. If your waitress is white, you generally have someone who doesn’t really get the dishes, if she is Asian, she may have trouble explaining it to you. Just try something. It is hard to go wrong.
Friendliness is A+ for all the waitresses and hostesses we have encountered.
Prices are exceptionally good. I think there is even a coupon for the Jenison location in the Entertainment book.
Go to the corner of Fulton and Jefferson and head south on Jefferson (the only choice). The restaurant is about 3 doors down on the right (west) side. If you prefer to try the Jenison location, it is in the Baldwin Plaza just past Meijers on Baldwin going west (on the south side of the road)
Wahoo! Excellent flavor in West Michigan at a good price. One of our favorites. If we had 1/2 stars, this one would be 4 1/2.