Good things come in small packages.
The perfect example of that is at Thai Kitchen Restaurant, located on the north side of Madison Avenue between Ridgewood and Winchester in Bird Town.
Above the entrance there is a simple white sign with red lettering and logo, and once inside, you will be met with some tight quarters.
The interior is tiny, seating about 16 people — but it's cozy. Thai Kitchen handles a good amount of take-out business.
The food is made well with fresh vegetables and fragrant spices; the meats are tender; the pots of tea are aromatic and faintly sweet.. The dining room is clean and almost spare, but for some intricately-woven table coverings, a striking wood carving on the wall, a map of Thailand and a photo of a floating market in Bangkok; twinkling overhead lights provide a colorful canopy.
Chef Kwan trained to be a chef and owned her own restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand. Here in Lakewood she works alongside her daughters Kimlee and Jenny- providing us with top notch fare. There are 5 regions in Thailand- Kwan is from the central region, which yields less fiery cookery than that of the south. They are excited to go back to visit Thailand this summer.
The basic flavors in Thai cuisine are sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty, and the common ingredients are garlic, chiles, limes, lemongrass, and fish sauce (nam pla) — also coconut milk, peanuts, tamarind, ginger and basil.
Kwan makes her own spice blends, curry pastes and has her own style- and she hasn't created a menu that is totally Americanized. Her food is substantial while not being heavy, and so flavorful without being overwhelming. She is true to her native flavors, while being inclusive to those of us with more fragile palates.
The lunch menu is short but sweet with only five items available all for around $6, the dinner menu is much more extensive with prices ranging from $6.99 to $11.99. It appears that almost everything can be made vegetarian- you just need to ask- and Kwan is happy to make anything from the dinner menu during lunch hours (11:30 til 2:00).
I passed Cosmic Collectibles while I was driving home and their sign on the sidewalk complained “Over This Weather!” with which — I can assume — we collectively agree ... but go have a spicy plate of anything from Thai Kitchen and your taste-buds will be refreshed, your belly will be full and you may even have to wipe some sweat from your brow.
I like to imagine the climate that would yield such a cuisine and I dreamily remember what it's like to wear shorts and feel sun on my skin... as I get into my car, turn on the windshield wipers and the heat...
Family Dollar allows parking in their lot until 9PM.
Thai Kitchen does not take credit cards or checks- just cash.
Sunday hours: 4-9PM
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11:30- 9PM
Friday & Saturday: 11:30- 10PM