Jacksonville, FL 32204
I was hearing some buzz about this spot and was curious, so I gathered three of my besties for a road trip to give it a test run. The interior, is quite lovely with a peaceful vibe, ample seating, Asian inspired decor but not over done. They proudly display a recent review by a local writer and well they should.
We started off with a couple of appetizers, Fresh Basil Rolls, Crab Rangoon, and the Fried Calamari. The basil rolls may have been the biggest fresh rolls I have seen in any similar restaurant. Large basil leaves, fresh and a beautiful green. Served with peanut sauce as well as a spicy dipping sauce, they were deemed excellent.
Crab Rangoon brown and crisp, lovely little pouches of cream cheese, stuffed with crab, plus a hint of curry to bring this dish to another level.
Crispy Fried Calamari, not the usual pre breaded rings, more like nuggets covered in a soft tasty batter, the items were body as well as the much loved tentacle parts. We gave these a big thumbs up.
We chose two soups basic Wonton and the Tom Kha the Thai chicken coconut soup.
Wonton, rich clear broth, four well stuffed pork dumplings, nice texturee to the meat and the noodles slightly firm, ample bean sprouts with a sprinkling of green onion tops.
The same can not be said for the Coconut soup. This is my favorite Thai soup, and I order it every time I eat Thai, so I saw not reason to change on this visit. Sadly it was a great disappointment. What normally is a beautiful white, rich creamy broth, filled with flavors of lemon grass and kaffar lime leaves was a beige thin broth, looking like the coconut milk separated during the cooking process. Bland I added some chili paste to amp it up, it was beyond redemption.
It went back to being good with the addition of our entrees. Two Curries, a Panang Curry, made with coconut milk with zucchini, bell pepper and crush peanuts, served with a heart shaped portion of rice. This broth was amazing, sweet from the coconut firm vegetables, heavy on the chicken. We all tasted this dish and voted it a five.
The second curry choice, Massaman Curry with Chicken, made with massaman curry paste, coconut milk, potatoes, carrots, onions and peanuts. Highly aromatic, massaman curry paste has a distinctive cardamom flavor, one of my favorite dishes. The heat level at this spot is a 1 to 5 with 5 being the hottest. I opted for a 4 and was well rewarded on two levels. It was highly spiced enough that no one else wanted any.
The other dinner option the BBQ Pork Noodle Soup ,steamed egg noodles, BBQ pork, bean sprouts, scallions and cilantro in clear broth. The small portion was huge, steamy coming to the table, brimming with meat and noodles. This was a grand dish even on a warm day. As usual we all had to taste we oohed and aahed over the broth.
We are giving this place a big thumbs up, so I encourage my readers, to get the besties lined up and take the trip over to Riverside. Portions a good sized and not overly prices. Staff is attentive but not intrusive. I would go back just to sit quietly and take in the atmosphere, well perhaps have a glass of Thai Iced tea.