Thai: Lunch, Dinner
How to Save $: It’s on Restaurant.com, so be sure to print off a coupon before dining
Looking for some ethnic food on a budget with a good atmosphere? Look no further than Tasty Thai & Sushi, the sister restaurant to Taste of Thai in West Ashley. Be sure to sit in the front of the restaurant, so you can people-watch on King Street. If that’s what you’re after, I’d suggest going on a Thursday through Saturday night, when things are a bit more “interesting.”
Tasty Thai and Sushi looks pretty cool from the outside, but I had no idea how big it was until we went in. The sushi bar and kitchen wrap around to another, larger dining area and bar in the back of the restaurant, with a pool table and “hang out” space for what looked like College of Charleston
kids students just a few years younger than me.
Jeff started off with the THAI CHIPOTLE SCREWDRIVER ($6.50), which was just your average screwdriver (vodka+orange juice) with fresh, sliced jalapenos and simple syrup muddled in. It was very spicy and fresh-tasting, complements of the OJ and fresh jalapenos. It’s not your average orange juice cocktail. And, although it was very good, if you’re going for a spicy drink on King Street, I’d opt for O-Ku’s Jasmanian Angel or Co’s Sriracha Mary before downing another of these screwdrivers.
But if you’re not interested in a spicy drink or one of the other specialty cocktails, the beers are only $4 — pretty cheap compared to the new restaurant Co just a few doors down (who’s selling beers for $6 each).
We shared the CRAB WONTONS ($6.95) and FRESH BASIL ROLLS ($6.95) as our appetizers. The crab wantons were very good, but that’s just because I like cream cheese more than I like crab. If you like crab more than cream cheese, you’ll probably be disappointed. They come with a spicy Thai chile paste sauce that make them spicy and much more flavorful – a nice addition to the smooth cream cheese flavor. As for the fresh basil rolls: ehh. They looked so pretty when they arrived at our table, but what they add in appearance they lack in flavor. They’re pretty unusual tasting and the basil (surprise, surprise) stands out among the shrimp and lettuce. This appetizer wasn’t spicy at all, but it was light and refreshing and a good choice for those looking for a little less spice.
Having to choose between Thai and sushi was the hardest part for me because I love them both. Because my seat faced the kitchen, I kept watching noodle dishes leave the kitchen counter and each dish looked better than the one before. Because I generally like rice dishes more than noodle dishes, Jeff and I decided to share one rice dish and one noodle dish to get a taste of both (and I wanted what kept coming out of the kitchen).
The PAD KEE MOW ($13.95) was our waiter’s favorite noodle dish and came with flat rice noodles stir-fried with garlic eggs, onions, bell peppers and basil. It was colorful and full of vegetables. On the spice scale of 1 to 5 (5 is the spiciest), Jeff ordered a 3. The delicious and rich spicy red sauce was definitely deserving of a 3 score. Aside from the spice, the dish was surprisingly bland and didn’t do much to win me over to the noodle side. I’d maybe get it again, but with chicken instead of the beef because the beef was pretty chewy and tough-tasting. But, after tasting our rice dish, I’d skip the Pad Kee Mow on my next visit and order something else instead.
Our rice dish of choice was the ONG BOK ($13.95) and came with chicken sauteed in a spicy red curry with peppers, onions, bamboo shoots, kachai and lime leaves. Without fail, every red curry Thai dish I’ve ever eaten has been delicious, so I was hoping I wouldn’t go wrong with this dish. I didn’t. The curry flavor was flavorful yet not the least bit overpowering, and my 3.5 spice scale was just the right amount of spice to leave my mouth burning- but just a little. Even though there wasn’t any coconut milk in this dish, it was really good nonetheless. It wasn’t too soupy and was filling enough that I took more than half of it home. It comes with a side of jasmine rice which was a little dry, but that was completely masked by the flavorful dish.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s a great, low-key place to grab a quick bite to eat on a weekday night. If you’re looking for a place that’s more upscale than Mama Kim’s (and without the red plastic booths of Spring Rolls), then Tasty Thai might just be for you. We were impressed with the quality of food at such a reasonable price (thanks to our Restaurant.com gift card). If you want a much more upscale Thai experience, then Basil is your place–but it will just hit your wallet a little harder.