Some dishes are a bit oily and they certainly don't use the best cuts of chicken or pork. You'll come across a little gristle here and there. Even so, this place offers some real tasty dishes. The curry is very good as are a few other items. Pleasant servers. Prices are very competitive too. With its few minor faults, this place remains one of the better Thai restaurants in town.
I agree with Arthur and Reuven, above; this is a very good Thai restaurant with some excellent dishes. My introduction to Thai food was in Thailand in the 1970's. It was "instant affinity". After that, I frequently sought out Thai places when visiting or living in major cities in the US and Europe, which often provided fine culinary surprises. In Tucson, however, I've been disappointed (including at the other restaurants mentioned in reviews here), despite this city's many other good ethnic (and other) restaurants, so I'm especially happy to report on our superb dinner tonight (November 5th, 2010) at Bai Thong. We odered the gai satay and papaya salad appetizers, Pad Thai and a fish curry. Each was delicious. The peanut sauce was thick and rich and the chicken well-grilled and tender. The papaya salad blended spicy and tart flavors expertly. The fish curry was subtly spiced with kaffir lime leaves and enough anise to round out the peppery coconut sauce without dominating the mix. And the Pad Thai was well blended and just tart enough to bring up the taste of each ingredient. Thai food can be heavy; this wasn’t. The pricing was reasonable, and our service tonight was quick, efficient, attentive, dignified and pleasant, including a lovely smile. The decor (if you radically shrink the space) is actually not unlike many restaurants in Asia (which doesn't tend to the highly atmospheric except for tourists and theater). And the music was thankfully quiet. I personally enjoyed the touch of Buddhist homespun philosophy and scenic photos under the table glass. All in all, Bai Thong treated us to rich, complex and luscious flavors and textures and to an enjoyable evening of great Thai food.
It's almost real Thai food. My favorite is the pork panang. Their food is the best in town according to my buddy (married to a Thai woman) who lived in that country for over a year.
How can you trust the opinions of someone who says "there are very few good places to eat in Tucson"? I can name dozens off the top of my head, and I would include Bai Thong among them. As an immigrant from the Bay Area, my standards for Thai food are pretty high, and Bai Thong is the only Thai place here I can abide (although I've never tried Thai China Siam on Oracle). Bai Thong isn't spectacularly good but I'm always happy with what I get--e.g. the shrimp with pineapple (somewhere around #6 on the entrees), the smoked/dried beef appetizer (whatever it's called)--and the Thai tea ice cream is great.
So far the best Thai in Tucson (and I've had some of the best in LA). Nothing fancy, just good Thai food.
Eaten here once; will again. Rundown:
*Specialty drinks overpriced
*Slightly overpriced overall, but justifiable
Tucson Weekly |
3280 E. Hemisphere Loop, Suite 180, Tucson AZ 85706 |
(520) 294-1200 |
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