El Paso Restaurant Review: Tara Thai
|Bravo's Promo Pic of Chef Sai Pituk|
The Mr. and I went on a Thursday night to celebrate mybirthday, the same day the El Paso Times reported her as a finalist in the Top Asian Chef competition. Related or not, the restaurant was packed. The place has a very simple, yet authentic vibe. Instead of other Asian places you visit where there is often overwhelming ornate decor, Chef Sai's created a very basic atmosphere with some very cool cultural focus points.
|Tangy Chutney Appetizers|
Service was a bit slow but the staff was very friendly despite the packed seats. Joe started with a nice Asian beer and we were served an Asian flat bread with a tangy chutney like sauce. What a pleasant surprise as it was it was delicious! The sauce had a tang I couldn't quite place (lime?) but couldn't stop sampling either. We chose to try the Bhu Sawan as our appetizer, little wontons full of cream cheese, crab, and lime. Not very adventurous for us, but this was my birthday dinner and due to its' similarity to my personal favorite, Crab Rangoon; I had to have it. It was great and the presentation was beautiful. We were off to a great start.
The entrees were a bit delayed due to the crowd but our waitress brought another round of the Asian bread and chutney snack to tide us over. (Yep, technical writer here). Our entrees came out, Joe went with the Street Style Stir Fried Basil dish, beautiful! We are talking bell peppers, onion, chicken, garlic, chile paste served with rice and topped with a sunny side egg. It was delicious, I think we would have liked to have the heat turned up a bit on it, but the flavors were really great and I'm sold on anything that comes with runny egg yolk.
|Street Style Stir Fried Basil entree|
|Pad Woon Sen|
A few weeks later Joe and I returned to Tara Thai to sample different entrees. We chose to go with the Golden Bags for an appetizer. Shrimp, pork, and chicken Dumplings, served with a sweet chili sauce. They were crisp and filling but light enough to feel like you were ready to continue your Thai cuisine journey.
|Tom Kha Gai|
Joe received his Drunken Noodles, a classic mix of wide egg noodles, tomato, bell peppers and choice of protein in a rich brown sauce garnished with mint. It was delicious...and hot! Thai Spicy is not for the faint of heart, the heat is slow at first than builds in the back of your mouth. If you really and I mean really like spicy foods, you will enjoy it (despite runny noses). We knew we liked spicy so it worked for us but if you are unsure, I would test your taste buds out on the medium level.
I chose to order the Massaman Curry. It is a potato and peanut curry with chicken, served in a spicy brown sauce. It is accompanied by a side of jasmine rice and cucumber salad. Its a very hearty and robust dish, I certainly couldn't finish it all. This might be a great intro entree for someone who is less familiar with the Thai flavors, or maybe overall tends be a timid eater. I have a friend who hates vegetables, but I bet this dish would be right up his alley.
|Massaman Curry with Cucumber Salad|
If you are looking to break up your routine with some exciting and bold flavors, I would highly suggest going to Tara Thai. . I'd love to hear any one else's experiences or suggestions when visiting the establishment.
Until then, Happy Eating!!
- Foodie Smash
(Check out the website for hours of operation and delivery. That's right, DELIVERY. Something other than pizza! You don't even have to drag yourself out of the house to enjoy this fantastic food voyage.)