Maybe I’ve told this story before and maybe I haven’t, but I’m too lazy to care, so here it goes: I once at lunch at a restaurant called TP’s BBQ.
I’d call it a hole-in-the-wall joint, but that wouldn’t be fair to holes. The restaurant is long since gone, which is why I don’t mind ripping into it now, because it was terrible. Literally, the owner came out and was surprised to find us there. And guess what’s usually pretty awful at restaurants where customers are a genuine shock? Yeah. The food.
The lesson to me was that some places are in weird locations because of circumstances beyond their control and some are just plain bad.
Like my beloved Lip Smackers Restaurant, however, there are places like Suphattra’s Thai Kitchen. Suphattra’s shares a building with a lawn mower repair shop. You can, on occasion, smell fuel wafting through the air. And if that is something your delicate sensibilities cannot abide, then definitely get your food to go. But you should get your food from Suphattra’s regardless, because it’s delightful.
As you might guess with a restaurant that shares space with a lawn mower repair shop, Suphattra’s has a few idiosyncrasies of which you ought to be aware.
The co-owner who takes my orders does not use the 1-5 spice system that other Thai restaurants live by. He simply tells me, “That is very spicy” and leaves it up to me to decide. So for those of you who are seeking Thai spicy vs. American spicy, take note. And I’m sure they can up the heat factor if you request it, but I’ve always found his guidance to be right on.
To start, I recommend spring rolls (four for $4.99) because everyone loves spring rolls. Seriously, ask everybody in the room you’re in right now. I’ll do it, too.
Everyone said yes. (I even had to tap someone on the shoulder because they were wearing earbuds, but the answer was immediate.)
These are stuffed with shredded cabbage, so don’t go in expecting meaty goodness, but I still think you’ll love them. The wrapper is crazy tender and crisp and the cabbage has a delicious oily crunch, especially after you dip it in the house-made sweet chili sauce. The owner said they chose cabbage because so much of the rest of the menu is so filling, they didn’t want to overload people with the appetizers.
The wonton soup ($5.50) is filled with pork dumplings and you can tell the difference in boiled wrapper vs. fried, because the exterior is chewier, which is vital for keeping the payload of ground pork inside. This is wonderful cold weather food and probably even hot weather food. Look, I love dumplings, okay? Weather doesn’t factor into it.
The broth is gorgeously garlicky and I feel like it probably healed my body in some as-yet unknown way. Put it in a coffee mug and drink it down. You won’t be sorry.
One of my go-to Thai orders is evil (or jungle) curry, but I was quickly waved off that when I tried to order it. “Very spicy,” he told me.
“How about the green curry ($10.99)?”
“Little bit spicy.”
“Okay, I’ll have that.”
It was still too spicy. But it was also too delicious to stop eating, so I winced my way through a decadent pile of rice as it soaked up the spicy green curry and coconut milk. The chicken was tender. The bamboo shoots and bell peppers has lovely crunch and heft. Really an all-around excellent curry, despite what my pain receptors would have you believe.
The next time I went in, I foolishly disregarded his warnings and dove headfirst into the pork tom yum fried rice ($9.99).
First things first, I love fried rice in all of its many forms. Thai fried rice is especially wonderful, because I feel like they add way more stuff to it than just bits of meat and peas and carrots. Suphattra’s tom yum fried rice is full of egg (of course), onions, tomato, bell peppers, chili paste, fresh chilis and Thai sauce.
WOOOO! This lit me up like Christmas in a lightning storm. But it was SOOO GOOOOD. I think I finally understand people who vote against their own interests, because the more this hurt, the more I wanted another bite.
On the other side of the equation is the easiest-to-eat Thai dish of them all, pad see ew ($9.99). This has long been one of my favorites, even more so than pad thai, because I love those long, thick noodles and the way the soy sauce forms a sticky sweet glaze that wraps up whatever meat and veggies are included.
This is Thai comfort food for me. It’s such a filling and satisfying dish. The noodles have that wonderful chewiness that keeps the sauce in your mouth for a few seconds longer, really driving home the salty sweet and savory flavors.
Suphattra’s Thai Kitchen is a joy. Every time I go in, I just settle down in a booth and watch whatever PBS show is on the TV and get ready for mountains of tasty, welcoming food with heat levels that I cannot hope to control. Give your mouth a treat and try it yourself.