120 Park Ln Suite B
Kirkland WA 98033
Classic Thai Dishes with an Ambient Appeal
By: Steve G
As one of the favorite Kirkland spots for Thai, Lai Thai has thrived by delivering some top-notch quality classic dishes. From Phad Thai to Massamun Curry, Lai Thai doesn't change the playbook much. If you're looking for more trendy or fusion type items with meager portions (*cough* Thin Pan), you're better off looking elsewhere. The simple menu here features traditional Thai dishes, however Lai Thai does them better than most. If you're in Kirkland and craving some Thai food, Lai Thai is the spot you'll want to check out.
The decor of Lai Thai is a grand mixture of various Asian themes with a few Western accents. Lots of ornate drapes dominate the room and at night their candlelit tables create an air of intimacy. However, distracting from the overall theme of the place were paintings and pictures from Thailand that seemed out of sync that made the decor somewhat uneven.
Those who have a craving for something of a stir fry nature might like the Phad Woon Sen. With its mixture of crystal noodles, vegetables and choice of meat, we found that it had a very pleasant mix of flavors. But watch out for the baby corn, as it was old and spongy, and really detracted from the dish. The spice level on the dish also seemed a bit tame, so you might want to ask for an extra star of spice.
The Massasmun curry was the most well received out of all of the dishes. It seems to have a love affair with peanuts-not only does the thick curry sauce have a strong nutty accent to it, but the dish is topped with roasted peanuts. Just as with the Phad Woon Sen, it also lacked that extra kick of spice we were expecting, even though we ordered a three star. Maybe the peanuts neutralize the spice, but for whatever the reason it lacked a lot of heat. Other than that, it was a good dish that most Thai food enthusiasts would enjoy.
The one disappointment, the yellow curry rice was a tame version of its regular form. Across the board, all of us felt a little let down with its taste. It was simply of standard quality, and suffered from the same problem that plagued all of the dishes:lack of spice. Those not accustomed to too much spice might think its okay, but for us Thai food-lovers it lacked a real punch.
While the yellow curry rice did disappoint, the other dishes performed quite well. Aside from the weak level of spice, most of what we had at Lai Thai was tasty. The unevenness of the decor seemed to be mimicked in the taste, but considering that prices are quite reasonable, Lai Thai is the first option for Thai food in the Kirkland area.