Not so long ago, Elephant Thai was the new kid on the block, sister to Chaang Thai further north on Academy Boulevard.
Today, within sight of Elephant’s sight, Nom Nom Thai opened as a sister restaurant to the ten-year-old Thai Satay in South Springs. For my part, this is a concentration of curry that I have no problem with, as both are excellent and the world would be better off with a Thai spot on every corner. I’m not the only one who feels that I could eat Thai with pleasure almost every day.
Indonesian chef / founder and native Gary Sanova has done a great job of making another basic mall shell look good. The tables, chairs and floors are all black and neon glow down to the level of the wainscoting, where beige paint takes over as the understated backdrop for the colorful wall art, like a Buddha head facing the Entrance. Small vases on tables contain stalks of dried grass to contrast the fresh lavender blossoms. The dining room has twice the capacity of Thai Satay’s, which Sanova hopes will come in handy once his liquor license is obtained and he can introduce happy hours with cheap installments to supplement a future. sushi counter.
I urge him to consider Indonesian specialties as the Springs almost lacks cuisine (aside from Osae Sushi Ramen Bistro in the east, to our knowledge), but he jokes “I’m not good at Indonesian cuisine!” He trained in a culinary school in Bangkok for basic modern Chinese and Thai cuisines and is leading with these strengths, and most likely will take a small business partner for Japanese cuisine.
Meanwhile, Nom Nom’s menu so far hosts all expected Thai standards as well as a small ramen menu – a mirror of the Thai Satay menu for the most part – with just a handful of newly introduced dishes exclusive to it. place (and to this city). We focused on these, other than trying an appetizer Sanova recommended that we had not ordered in the south before.
It’s salt and pepper tofu, something I would never have ordered without a prompt (‘Cuz tofu) but turns out so good that I text vegan friends within minutes, telling them everything. drop it and get their Name Name. . No shit, I don’t remember having had such amazing tofu before: crisp, light, airy and chewy (also gluten free), decently spicy with extremely tasty red and green onions, garlic and chili flakes red, topped with a tangle of crispy vermicelli.
Like a good appetizer should, in the spirit of an appetizer, this dish sets the tone for the tremendous journey we are about to embark on: hand-sweetened Thai iced tea. Then we get the only addition to the ramen list, the Spicy Sapporo Ramen, made with homemade chicken and pork broth, spicy and minced chicken meat, bok choy, bean sprouts, a garnish of grated seaweed and a very important duck egg that steals our attention to be such a punch of salt and richness. Sanova buys them imported and says they’re processed in salt and coconut fiber (an ingredient he has to show me a screenshot of on his phone, in an Indonesian online marketplace, before I can. understand). Overall a really spicy broth with well-chosen ramen noodles that don’t melt quickly.
The highlight of this meal, however, is Sanova’s interpretation of red curry duck. (Chaang Thai offers another delicious version personalized by his chef / owner Suwanna Meyer.) He serves his own with sautÃ©ed pineapple chunks, carrot threads and red pepper wedges, with a garnish of cucumber wheels and basil leaves in a Thai red curry thickened with potato starch, a powerful sauce of ginger, garlic, shallots and galangal.
Unlike Chinese duck dishes rich in anise notes, this ultra-tender Thai take begins with a 24-hour meat marinade with ginger, garlic, scallions, oyster and fish sauce, yellow vinegar and a blend of herbs including peppercorns and curry leaves. Sanova says he also makes sure to fill the bird’s cavity, to help the seasonings soak up.
According to him, one spice is essential: the paprika, which not only adds to the color of the crimson sauce, but imparts a light smoke that Sanova likes to merge with the gaminess of the bird. He says lime juice for balance is also important. He first steams the duck, then gives it a first fry, followed by a finishing fry to order. Hence a well caramelized and crispy skin and a super tender core. We order it right below Thai-hot and happily smoking.
How are we? Just duck.
On another visit, we fuel our pleasure with Thai iced coffee (a little less sweet than tea) which we get with a coconut milk topping. Our target this time is two dishes that Sanova referred to in a previous interview as being very popular right across Southeast Asia today – dishes that have impressed her on recent travels. The first is an egg noodle soup with coconut milk and broth called Curry Laksa. It mixes Thai yellow curry with Laotian red curry and shrimp paste for an extremely herbaceous flavor. Toppings include slices of starchy “vegetarian cakes” (reminiscent of rice pieces in Korean Tteokbokki), bok choy, bean sprouts, red chili paste and oil, green onions, fried shallots and one of those duck eggs. We are more than satisfied with it.
The second course may challenge some diners with its inherent spiciness, and I need a few bites to get in there, but by my last course, I see why it is so alluring and I want more. This is called salted egg yolk shrimp and it is basically it with yellow curry powder. The shrimp are salted and then seared with egg yolk, which clings to it in small pieces, and they are served on a bed of spring mix of fried shallots and shallots and steamed broccoli. The overall taste is a bit difficult to describe, other than there is almost a sour umami with a final note of something akin to a salty feta finish, like a bit of salty pop which is of a creamy way to texture.
Although writing all this down and reading it back to myself, I’m still not sure it made sense or that I captured it. That is to say, it’s interesting enough to partly confuse me given its simplicity, and it’s worth experimenting with. The same can be said about Name Name. The staples are high quality, on par with the best in our city, but these newly introduced dishes give more reason to go than the geographic proximity for delivery or take out. But we are quite comfortable satisfying our Thai fix in the spacious dining room, where I can more easily ask Sanova “why is it so good, how did you make it?” ”