Review by Christine Basile
On Kenmore Avenue is a fairly new, locally owned restaurant that is causing a stir. Yummy Thai offers authentic Thai cuisine to Kenmore and Buffalo residents with quality service and a welcoming atmosphere at an affordable price. With a large variety of food, including vegetarian options and healthy alternatives, there is plenty for guests to choose from.
For those who wish to enjoy their dinner in the comfort of their own home, Yummy Thai also offers take-out and delivery service to bring its savory flavors and mouthwatering dishes to the Kenmore-Buffalo area.
From the outside, this green and orange building stands out in a community of similarly styled brick buildings. While the green was a nice color choice, the orange was extremely harsh and in direct sunlight seems distracting. Despite the strong colors on the outside, the inside presents a more calm and friendly scene.
While some takeout restaurants are just a simple desk and entryway, Yummy Thai offers a serene escape within a busy city. The walls are soft beige with some wood paneling, creating a peaceful and welcoming environment. The simple hanging decorations are small, tapestry-like embroidered materials depicting Thai culture. The tables lend bursts of color with cream tablecloths and table runners accented with gold and green.
On each table sits small vases of fresh flowers accented with small candleholders. Music plays in the background at a soft volume allowing conversation to be had, but providing an enjoyable ambiance for guests while they enjoy their meals.
Instead of a harsh orange, perhaps staying with a green or neutral color similar to the brown and gold inside would make an even more attractive appearance and tie the overall theme together? Regardless of the outdoor color choice, this hidden gem is good for an afternoon meal or evening out.
The pad Thai entrée with the tofu and vegetable option ($9.99).
Upon entering, the staff welcomes guests with a cheerful salutation before taking them to their table. As guests are seated, water is brought to the table for them and they have time to look over the lists of wines, beers and sake available, as well as the extensive four-page food menu.
The wait staff is extremely polite, knowledgeable of the menu and does its best to keep guests happy. The staff continually returns to check on the guests before, after and while the food is being prepared and served.
Water glasses are continually refilled and guest requests are performed without hesitation. For a small restaurant, the staff carries out its service in a calm, collected manner, which creates an enjoyable experience for customers of all ages.
After visiting the restaurant twice, I have found the service is not only well done, but consistent.
Imagine the scent of spices wafting from the kitchen as a plate of steaming food is presented at the table: the aroma of ginger, lemongrass, peppers and garlic tantalizing the taste buds before the first bite of the meal as it is placed on the table.
Yummy Thai's extensive menu covers all of the classic Thai dishes, lunch specials, "Yummy Thai Specials," noodle dishes and rice plates galore. With such a large variety to choose from, a meal with Yummy Thai will not be boring.
After going twice to this restaurant, I can assure you this small restaurant is a gem worth returning to again and again.
The first time I went, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision with a few friends for lunch. While we weren't looking for anything amazing, we were about to find a place worthy of a quick, delicious lunch.
For lunch service, while the regular menu is available to pick from, there also is a listing of lunch specials. The lunch specials come with a choice of protein (including tofu with vegetables, chicken, pork, beef, seafood and roasted duck), a vegetable spring roll, soup du jour and white rice. The lunch specials, depending on protein, range from $7.99 to $9.99.
One of my guests and I chose the healthy garlic lunch special. This dish is absolutely delicious when paired with either the vegetable and tofu or chicken option ($7.99). The strong presence of garlic is tamed by the succulent pieces of chicken or tender pieces of tofu with crunchy, but well-cooked vegetables and crunchy pieces of fried garlic on top.
The first bite of the meal wasn't overwhelming with garlic, but had crisp vegetables and tender, ribbon-like rice noodles. The entire dish had a savory sauce with hints of chili, garlic and a bit of saltiness creating an umami element to the dish.
The curry selection (green, red or Penang curries) pairs extremely well with the beef option for a quick lunch break. ($8.99) My second guest picked the red beef curry for his lunch. Through the dish's spices, a melody of heat and flavor was present and created a well-balanced plate. With a small portion of rice and crisp, fresh vegetables on the side, it was truly an enjoyable meal.
The second time I returned to Yummy Thai, I came back during its dinner service with different guests. While offering the same options for proteins as the lunch specials, there are more selections to choose from to create an endless variety of meal options ranging in price from $9.99 to $15.99.
My one guest, who is a vegetarian, chose one of the more popular dishes: pad Thai with the vegetable and tofu option ($9.99). This traditional noodle dish comes with the expected portions of egg, scallion, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and optional lime wedge. This dish is filled with umami flavors with a sultry combination of salty, slight spiciness from the chilies and freshness from the bean sprouts and lime. The crunch throughout the meal from the freshly toasted peanuts pained nicely with the acidity and flavor of the lime. This classic Thai dish lived up to the expectations of a traditional pad Thai and was delicious to the last bite.
Also available for dinner service are a variety of appetizers (ranging from $4.99-$6.99) and appetizer platters with different selections of appetizers ($11.99) soups (ranging from $3.99-$8.99 in two sizes), salads (ranging from $7.99-$11.99) and a selection of delectable dishes under the "Yummy Thai Special" section (ranging from $16.99-$23.99).
My second guest decided to order from the appetizers and soup portion of the menu. She ordered the small-sized clear vegetable soup with chicken ($3.99) and fried chicken spring rolls ($5.99). The soup was not overly salty and had a good amount of vegetables in it. The chicken spring rolls were fried well and were not greasy. While they were small, they packed a large amount of flavor.
During the second visit, I ordered the seafood in clay pot ($16.99), which is a popular customer pick. Brought to the table in the clay pot it was cooked in, the steaming bowl offered assorted seafood (plump, jumbo shrimp; squid; scallops; mussels) in a mildly spiced clear broth with an assortment of fresh vegetables and herbs such as shiitake mushrooms, scallions and basil over clear bean noodles.
I was surprised at the initial spice of the dish. After a few bites of my meal, the spiciness subsided and mellowed out in a fusion of a spice and herbs such as Thai basil, garlic and ginger. The size of the pot was much bigger than expected, making the price well worth the investment. My guests and I left with full stomachs and lunch for the next day.
With great service and food to match, Yummy Thai presents a solid product that will have guests coming back for more. With a strong menu with multiple options to please a variety of hungry visitors, vegetarians and meat lovers alike will return for the taste of Thailand here in Western New York. With extremely good service and food, Yummy Thai is given a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Yummy Thai is located at 92 Webster St., North Tonawanda, and 914 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo. Visit http://www.yummythairestaurant.com/.
The pad kee mow entrée with the option of chicken ($9.99)