Thai Krathong

tai krathong's yummy tom kha gaiThe New Thai Krathong in Canal Park (they recently moved) was a nice surprise. The new restaurant is comfy with high ceilings and offers a floor plan that provides a bit of privacy. It’s relatively quiet even on a Friday night with a lot of people.

It does have a full bar, which is a bonus. The majority of the beer was in bottle from. They had maybe 5 taps, the best of which was Lake Superior Kayak Kolsch and there’s somewhat of an emphasis on wine for a joint offering Thai food on the more traditional side. Unfortunately, I ate here alone and it was my first time so I can’t speak to the majority of the menu items. The menu itself is of course quite large, they offer some american selections for the kids and an entire page of vegetarian options (as any Thai restaurant would:).

I can offer at least one good tip on ordering: I’ve had a love affair with an entree style soup called Tom Kha, it generally comes with chicken (Gai), seafood or tofu/veggies.

The base of the soup is coconut milk and chicken, seafood or veg stock. It generally features fresh veggies and an exotic “herb” called Kaffir Lime (the leaf of the plant). The creamy aspect of the coconut milk is usually cut with lime juice and when done right it has a few good drops of fish sauce (fermented fish “stuff”). All of these unique ingredients give it a very unique pungent/fresh/herbaceous quality that makes you want to bury your face in the crock when you remove the lid :).

The Tom Kha at Thai Krathong was very good, extremely good by Duluth/Midwest standards. I did find it a bit on the conservative side (as the owners wisely serve it). Personally, I appreciate a little more funky fish sauce, lime, thai chili (for kick) and more emphasis on the Kaffir Lime. While kaffir is expensive to get, it’s what really makes this soup and i don’t think it had any.

Overall though, this was a great dish and it’s perfect for a cheap date, or a light pre-bar meal between 2 or three friends. This soup is Huge! It’s a great deal and it’s a fun experience for those who don’t eat “ethnic” food much. The soup arrives in a beautiful ceramic crock with a huge bowl of rice on the side. Each person is provided a small personal sized bowl in which you put some rice and then ladle the soup over top.

By the way, the veggies in the Thai Krathong version were bell pepper, cauliflower, snap peas, onion & whole cilantro. The veggies were cut lovingly (the same manner with which the soup was clearly prepared). The vegetables were also added at the end when the cooks assembled the dish. Thus, they were a clean and refreshing texture and flavor contrast against the fish sauce, garlic and creamy coconut based soup.

Thai Krathong is definitely worth the visit (and the money). Again, the “Entree Soup” mentioned above came with rice and would feed three people nicely for just $13.95. Throw in a couple beers and a tip and you’re outta there for just $11 each.

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