A visit to my all-time favorite Momofuku Noodle Bar during a recent visit to New York reignited my love for Asian-inspired dining, but also hit my wallet in a bad way. Not to mention the wait time which, at nearly two hours, bordered on the absurd. It was a welcome change then to be able to walk straight into Ekamai Thai in Sugar House and be shown to a table without delay.
Ekamai Thai ́s menu is not a short list. In addition to the usual starters, entrées and specials, there are chef recommendations, daily entrées and a two- page Saturday and Sunday brunch menu. Our party of three opted for the Thai classics Basil and Chili With Beef, Gang Keow Wan, and Yellow Curry Dinner rounded out with Ginger Crème Brûlée. The stir-fried ingredients of the Basil and Chili were fresh and well-balanced, and the beef tender with a delicate hint of ginger.
Apropos ginger – the Ginger Crème Brûlée was an absolute delight. Its creaminess was spot-on and the taste just on the right side of sweet. It turned out to be our favorite during that visit. But back to the main course. The popular Gang Keow Wan looked enticing and proved to be a tasty and spicy blend of green curry paste, bamboo shoots and coconut milk topped with tofu. It looked pretty as well. The milder yellow curry dinner was a simple but satisfying combination of chicken curry with potatoes and carrots.
If there was a downer in my overall pleasant experience at Ekamai ThaiI it had less to do with the food, but rather with how much you get of it. The portions are somewhat overwhelming. But then there is a plus to that – most plates can be shared and still everybody will get their Thai fix. And the budget conscious also might like to give Ekamai ́s lunch specials a try. For $8 a plate one is hard pressed to find a decent sit-down lunch anywhere in Salt Lake City.
And Ekamai ThaiI not only comes with good food but also with the pleasure of dining in a smaller scale restaurant infused with Thai friendliness away from the big lu nch crowds of the downtown dining scene.