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Sweet Pepper: New Thai restaurant in Oak Square, Brighton

g
gourmaniac Oct 11, 2006 12:47 PM

My neighborhood of Oak Square, which has been lacking in good restaurants, might finally have a good Thai place. Sweet Pepper opened two weeks ago in the space formally occupied by Chandelier, a mediocre Haitian spot that catered mostly to taxi drivers (I know, this is usually a good chowhound sign). Sweet Pepper is run by Thais but the menu caters a little to the community. If asked, they will kick it up a notch. I was asked if I wanted their hottest dish, marked with 3 peppers, moved up to 4 or 5. I ordered their Phuket noodles with pork (like Pad ki mow at Dok Bua) and the ground chicken with hot Thai style basil with ground chicken. The spice level was good and ingredients were fresh. Portions were large and prices good ($8-10 per entree)> Overall I would rate it above Montien (which I like) and Dok Bua (which I love). The sauces have a bit of sameness to them but not bad for Brighton. They have a few items that i've not seen and may be more pan-asian. Bombay sticks are an appetizer with homemade crispy sticks filled with a vegetable curry. There are a couple of entrees like Manilla coconut chicken (Phillipino) and Beef Kamar (Cambodian). It's not yet clear if this is pan-asian overreach or it may be possible that the chefs knows what they're doing. My first meal there has me willing to try.

  1. Ali G Oct 11, 2006 04:03 PM

    Sounds good. I grew up in Oak Square and when I was a kid there wasn't much more than bad chinese and pizza/sub shops. Can you explain where abouts the place is? I didn't see anything online.

    1. g
      gourmaniac Oct 11, 2006 04:41 PM

      It's right on Washington Street at Fairbank about 3 block west of the YMCA. I agree about the pizza and bad chinese, many of which are still there. That's why i'm hopeful. Brighton Center has had a positive restaurant growth. Now, maybe it's Oak Square's turn.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gourmaniac
        g
        gourmaniac Oct 12, 2006 01:58 PM

        Oops. Fairbank is three blocks east of the YMCA. Sorry, I'm directionally challenged.

      2. f
        foodfinder Oct 16, 2006 12:30 AM

        I just tried this out and was very disappointed. In my view, and my husband's, this was no Montien and especially no Dok Bua. With a few exceptions, the menu was standard American Thai, i.e., pretty boring

        The Gago Gado salad was a joke: limp iceberg lettuce, pallid tomatoes, undercooked chicken and watered down peanut sauce. The Phuket noodles were spicy since we asked them to up the spice level but otherwise not that tasty. They lacked the wok heat of a similar dish at Dok Bua. and the vegetable components were overcooked. The dish bore no resemblance to Gado Gado. The best dish we had were the Bombay sticks but these lacked more than a tablespoon of dipping sauce.

        Beyond the food, we were annoyed by the soft rock music and the fact that the waitress tried to snatch my plate away while I was still deciding whether to eat any more.

        This is one place to which I will not return.

        2 Replies
        1. re: foodfinder
          limster Oct 16, 2006 02:06 AM

          Sounds like they're trying to Indonesian dishes too -- gado gado is an Indonesian salad.

          1. re: foodfinder
            g
            gourmaniac Oct 16, 2006 01:14 PM

            Yikes. Sorry your experience was so poor. The dishes I had were comparable to Montien and were in fact somewhat better with regard to freshness and quality. I agree that the Phuket noodles aren't up to Dok Bua, but my sampling was nicely spiced and the pork was tender and delicious. Perhaps as a neighborhood place, there trying to do too much (Indonesian, Phillipino etc). As a mom and pop type place, I usually try to give the owners contructive criticism if they are bad dishes (like the Gado gado that you describe). It's also only been three weeks since they've opened and they may be working out the kinks. I'll try it again and report back.

          2. f
            foodfinder Oct 17, 2006 03:16 AM

            It's not a big deal since I know I'm always taking a chance with a new place.

            One of the staff asked me if the food was okay, and I said it was just okay. She didn't seem eager to hear more so I don't know if constructive criticism will be appreciated. But please, give some if you want and report back about what happens when you go again.

            1. j
              jjrr Oct 23, 2006 10:32 PM

              Absolutely the worst thai food I have had in many years. I ordered the tofu pad thai, which is usally a good bet at any new thai place. It was too mushy, very very salty, and there was not a single vegetable on the plate besides the bean sprouts. I love thai food but I could not get through more than a few forkfuls of this.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jjrr
                w
                Wineack Oct 25, 2006 01:02 AM

                Pad thai usually does not have vegetables besides bean sprouts. Mushy and very, very salty does not sound right though.

              2. g
                gourmaniac Oct 27, 2006 03:05 PM

                Looks like the public has voted and my initial impressions were way off. Sorry for the bum steer. The dishes I had were good, fresh and nicely spiced. I did speak with the owner at length and I'm Asian so perhaps the cook stepped it up a notch. Another dismal Oak Square eatery. Sigh...

                1. m
                  metalynith Jan 1, 2007 06:04 PM

                  I loved it! Just moved to the neighborhood and wanted something relatively healthy and tasty, so we gave it a try on a whim. We ordered the sampler appetizer, some fried rice and a salad. Everything was very colorful and flavorful. The fried food was light and crispy (and most importantly did not make me feel ill after eating!). The service was also excellent--they watched us (but not in a creepy way) and came at all the right times. I'm going again.

                  1. MaineRed Feb 4, 2007 06:03 PM

                    was in the hood so I grabbed some Puket noodles aka crazy/drunken/spicy wide noodles...DC had it with chicken, mine w/tofu....not as many vegs as I would like and too many bamboo shoots :) but the spice was very good -- and surprising since I usually have to say "make it spicy" even w/the three hot pepper designation. Pretty typical stuff, not too greasy. the bombay sticks were unusual, but def. not worth getting again....think of a weird samosa filling in a fried spring roll wrapper, long and rolled like a cigar. $8.95 was a little more than Cambridge prices but the restaurant was large and clean-looking with a lot of takeout.

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