Iyara Thai Cuisine
16421 Cleveland St. #E
Redmond WA 98052
Bold Flavors and Innovative Twists
By: Steve G
We've passed by this place several times after going out on long treks to review other spots, so all of us were curious when we finally stepped through the door into Iyara Thai. Iyara Thai has a simple slogan: "Better taste, better life." While the exact meaning of this motto is up to interpretation, my impression was that perhaps by eating better Thai food, it would result in a richer life. While our meal didn't improve our lives drastically, it was a decent meal and a good choice for those looking for Eastside Thai food.
If you're a fan of the color purple, you'll love the decor Iyara Thai. Being a Husky alumni, I couldn't help but like the interior. Of course, the use of colors is more likely meant to elicit a royal quality than true Husky purple and gold pride. The purple walls are paired with plenty of yellow accents and browns. It was quite impressive, yet not overly extravagant.
On the menu, Iyara Thai features an impressive array of dishes, some with very intriguing names. Entrees like the Tanning Mermaid, Waterfall Noodles, Heavenly Beef, and Jungle Curry, were just few of the creatively titled dishes that stirred our imaginations. Typical lunch specials are also available at $7.95 and include steamed rice and soup.
We started off with the starter Shrimp in a Blanket ($6.95), a plate of seasoned shrimp wrapped in a rice paper crepe. For entrees, we ordered the Heavenly Beef ($10.95), Fisherman's Treasure ($12.95), and Chicken Pad Thai ($8.95).
The Shrimp in a Blanket was a fairly basic dish served with a side of sweet chili sauce. The plate came with about six pieces of shrimp, but each piece was notably small. If you're a fan of Calbee Shrimp Flavored Chips, you're sure to enjoy this as it tastes very similar.
We were a little excited as the next sizzling hot plate arrived at our table. The Heavenly Beef was made with marinated meat laced with coriander powder and mixed herbs. As it made its way through the dining room, the sizzling of the beef was enough to turn people's heads; we couldn't wait to dig into it. Even though the meat was fried, it was surprising tender and enjoyable.
Fans of ginger will want to try the Fisherman's Treasure. Made with scallops, prawns, and tons of garlic and ginger, it was a powerful dish that had the potential to be truly great if it weren't for a few setbacks. The scallops and shrimp are too few and far in-between while other ingredients, such as the ginger and basil or the garlic and chili, seemed to clash.
The Chicken Pad Thai at Iyara was a different take on the traditional Thai food staple. Using less chili oil and employing more vinegar, tamarind, and sugar, the dish takes on a totally different character. These small changes made the pad thai a sweeter experience than we expected. Pleasantly, a hint of lime permeates through the other flavors, suggesting that the staff has already done the work of squeezing the limes for you.
In the end, Iyara Thai offers up some enjoyable food that places an emphasis on the sweet over the spicy. While it may not be the traditional taste you've come to expect from other thai places, it offers up a number of interesting dishes which will make at least one visit worth your while.
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