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Detroit Thai places that set themselves apart?

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Since I was moaning in another post about the now-ubiquitous nature of Thai places in the Detroit area, I got to thinking: what are the best Thai places in the area, based *solely* on the quality of food? Atmosphere is something that we're just going to have to put on the back burner, as most Thai places do most of their business in carry-out, and while there are some places that are meant to be eaten in, I've yet to really see a Thai "fine dining" establishment.

I'll start: Pi's Thai Cuisine in Hazel Park (as well as their secondary establishment at 16 & Dequindre in Sterling Heights) has always impressed me, no more so than with their tom yum soup that I'll make a meal of in itself (along with a bowl of rice). Spiciness in their dishes there is very potent, so the leery should go mild for sure. However, their ingredients are top-notch, and the taste comes through in spades. I've tried many things on the menu (none of the fried rices or anything...why bother eating Thai if this is what you're having?), and have rarely been disappointed. And as I said, the tom yum is fantastic.

Strictly for the pad thai noodle dish, Bangkok Cafe in Ferndale is good. Their standard pad thai includes both chicken *and* shrimp, and it's a good-sized, tasty portion. While they succeed in that dish, most everything else they serve is basically "Meh." There's nothing necessarily *wrong* with their other offerings, but neither are they anything tasty or savory. I tell my folks that "It's good as food, and that's about it." when referring to the rest of their menu.

And may I just take a moment of silence here to remember the former purveyor of Ny's Thai Cafe in Novi, who without any real notice at all up and moved to Switzerland because of his wife's job. Pany, we'll miss you. Heck, I *already* miss you. The business still exists, although it's under new ownership, and most of the menu didn't make the transition, sorry to say. The Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are still there, but they're not as good, and the whole place just seems lost without his enthusiasm and direction, not to mention his talent in the kitchen. If you never knew who Pany was, he was an established force in some of the finest kitchens in the Detroit area, and brought that experience to Ny's with him. His menu consisted not just of Thai, but many different Asian cuisines, and beyond (he's a certified French chef). He made a $3.50 creme brulee with homemade ice cream that would make you wonder how he found the time. It's a big loss, and considering that I used to travel to Novi from Ferndale *just* to go there, I'm honestly depressed about it.

OKAY! Enough of the moping! I want recommendations for places! Not only that, I want recommendations for *specific dishes* at those places! First person to recommend fried rice at one of them will be made to endure the Morgan Spurlock Treatment! ;)

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  1. I'm impressed by Lotus Thai in Ann Arbor, on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. S of the I-94 exit (in the first shopping center on the right going south). It's a branch of a chain that is otherwise all in Thailand. Some dishes are ordinary, but it's a sharp looking place, and to me the duck with tamarind-coffee sauce is a real standout.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim M

      I've only been there once, just recently, and while it was good, I didn't think it was exceptional. Maybe I was ordering the ordinary.

      Did you hear they're opening another restaurant downtown on Main St. in the Ashley Mews building (across from where Packard ends)? Should be open pretty soon.

      1. re: Chris Weber

        Yeah, it's taking them a while to get it together. Hopefully the food will be as ambitious as the decor.

    2. I've been to these places only for lunch. What've found exceptional is the:

      Squid Pad Thai at Sala Thai on Russell St. in Eastern Market, Detroit.
      House special?/Thai (not sure what it's called) fried rice at Bangkok Hung on Northwestern Hwy., east of Franklin, Southfield.

      I've been to Lotus Thai in A2 twice for lunch and found it very unremarkable. Maybe I should try the duck with tamarind-coffee sauce mentioned above the next time I'm there. It sounds very interesting.

      1. This is one of my favorite foods, I have been to Thailand twice and it kind of ruined it for me here. So many Thai places Americanize the food to keep it from being sent back to the kitchen. They make it a little bland with a lot less heat, even if you order hot or extra hot. All my places are based on Pad Thai as that is what I use for my benchmark before ordering the different dishes.

        Well back to the post as stated above Pi's is good on JohnR I have not been to the other location.

        Sala in Eastern Market is probably the best around for fresh well prepared food.

        In Sterling Heights I really enjoy the Bangkok Pavilion on the NW corner of Canal and Schoenerr by Lakeside Mall. They are one of the best Pad Thais around and the owners are Thai and very friendly. Also worth the try here is the Shrimp Fresh Rolls very good.

        Now Boagman you will have to forgive me here you guessed it fried rice. In Thailand they take this dish to another level. They use the very flavorful Jasmin Rice and spice it and cook it to perfection. It is very popular in Thailand you will find a noodle (Pad Thai) cart and a rice cart on every block. Locally the best Pineapple Fried Rice I have had is at Bangkok Bistro (I think that is the name) it is on Van Dyke between 16 and 16 1/2 mile East side by Shogun Steakhouse.

        Another rant I have is Thai restaurant ownership. I am starting to see more and more Chinese owned places. I have not been to a Chinese owned Thai restaurant that I would go back to. Don't get me wrong I love Chinese food but they just don't do Thai right.

        Last if you want to see some real smiles and maybe get a little better food in a Thai OWNED place learn a few words.

        Hello if your a man is Sawadee Kup
        Hello if your female is Sawadee Ka

        Now for the head turner and this is usually pretty funny to see the reaction. When your server brings your water or beverage and puts it on the table say.

        If your a man Cop Coon Kup
        If your female Cop Coon Ka

        This means Thank You and most Thais will be stunned to hear their language come from customers. Also this is when you can talk to them and ask for your food Thai Style or like they would cook it in Thailand. I have found that you will get great service and the food will come out with a little more pride and done perfect.

        Enjoy

        Gary

        4 Replies
        1. re: firestalker

          I agree with you completely re: the increase and quality of Thai restaurants owned by Chinese. I only go to the Thai-owned restaurants, and as a "farang" who speaks Thai fairly fluently (and also reads/writes the language too), I know most of the restaurant owners (they will usually change the way they make food for me and my Thai wife to be more authentic).

          As for recommendations, Sala Thai has a branch in Sterling Heights (14 Mile between Dequindre & Ryan) which is generally good. There's also Bangkok Bistro** in Troy (15 Mile, between Crooks & Coolidge) which serves an excellent Chiengrai Eggplant. And then, there's Bangkok Cuisine on 15 Mile & Dequindre, owned and operated by one of the original Thai restaurant owners (Sandy "Somnuk" Arpachinda) - they've recently started a Saturday & Sunday Bangkok Noodles idea, where from Noon to 4PM, they serve very large bowls of authentic Thai noodle soup for $7.50 (I recommend the Kwaytiew Moo Toon). I've stayed away from Pi's Cuisine, mainly because their prices are a tad higher than the other places (and unless things have changed, they have no lunch menu).

          One last thing - for REAL authentic Thai food here, you can go to one of the Thai Buddhist temples on Sunday. Local Thai residents bring home-made delicious authentic Thai food for the monks, and the lay folks eat after the monks have finished. Aroy maak maak! There are two local Thai temples - one in Warren on Ryan between 12 & 13 mile, and one in Sterling Heights on Plumbrook (north of 17 Mile and Van Dyke).

          ** - Bangkok Bistro also has a Sterling Heights restaurant on Van Dyke north of Metro Parkway, which serves the same excellent Chiengrai Eggplant.

          1. re: shiskabob

            In the same vein of the local Buddhist temples....this one is a bit further out but from what I hear....the best. Near Perry, MI

            http://www.dhammasala.org/

            I believe the food is handed out on the same fashion.

            1. re: JanPrimus

              You are correct re: Dhammasala, which is on Beardslee Road, a continuation of Williamston Rd.- I was restricting this to the temples in the greater Detroit area. Lansing has a large Thai community, and most of them will cook authentic food for sale at Dhammasala buddhist ceremonies at a reasonable price. And on non-Buddhist ceremony days, food is indeed handed out in the same fashion.

              1. re: shiskabob

                Spring road trip people!

        2. I like Thai Bistro on Ford Rd. In canton. Best Thai food I have ever eaten.

          1. Bangkok Crossing on Woodward in downtown Detroit. Out of the half dozen Thai places in greater downtown this is the best (imo at least as good as Sala Thai without the decor) and arguably the best in the metro area. It's relatively new and yet unknown. Just south of Campus Martius.

            5 Replies
            1. re: tdot

              i work in the one detroit center and have been to bangkok several times. it is good. surprisingly nice, big room despite a really bad/run down exterior. had a great shrimp curry dish last time.

              i also like the place (can't remember the name) in the compuware building (under the parking deck, down the block from the hardrock). tiny, always filled to the brim at lunch, decent food, and a heat scale that is a good half a tick above what you expect ("medium" is more like "medium +").

              a block and a half east is another little place (sorry again, don't remeber the name) on monroe a block before fishbones. small family place. usually busy. good hot and sour soup. nice $7 daily special plus typical pad thai, pad ped, curries, etc.

              1. re: xman887

                The place on Monroe is Bahn Thai. It's good, but nowhere near Sala Thai in Eastern Market, IMHO. Bahn Thai also has an outlet in the RenCen food court, which makes it a good option for fast food, but not for Thai food.

                1. re: xman887

                  And the place in Compuware, I believe, is Orchid Thai. I did not know there was also a Banh Thai in the Ren Cen. I believe the Thai place next to Beans & Bytes Cafe on Woodward is also a Thai chain.

                  1. re: xman887

                    And the place in Compuware, I believe, is Orchid Thai. I did not know there was also a Banh Thai in the Ren Cen. I believe the Thai place next to Beans & Bytes Cafe on Woodward is also a Thai chain.

                    1. re: tdot

                      after lunch today, i drove past the compuware bldg on my way back to the office - i checked and it is called orchid thai

                2. I really like Sukhothai in Oak Park. Right next to where Royal Kubo used to be.

                  Rexy's in Royal Oak is pretty bad now. There's another place I tried about six months ago in downtown RO, can't remember the name -- it's in the R&J's space. HORRENDOUSLY BAD. Seriously. It deserves all those capital letters. Frankly I can't believe it's still in business but it looked like it still was when I drove past the other day.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: oppsie

                    About the place in the old R&J space: I'm glad you tried it, rather than me. Not that I wish you any ill will or bad experiences, but I honestly could never, *ever* bring myself to go in there.

                    You see, I grew up eating at R&J Coffee Shop. I started going there with my grandmother, who would take me when we would go hunting for trains. The love of the place continued with the rest of my immediate family, and we'd often go there for the simplicity of the burger, fries, and the most awesome handmade milkshakes I've ever had (though mom was often a sucker for the simplicity of their grilled cheese sandwich).

                    Not only that, but the people who owned the place (Dave and Mark Parton) were people we held in high regard. I went to elementary, junior high, and high school with Dave's daughter Darcie (or was it with a "y"?), and my brother worked there for an extended time as a dishwasher, and they were very good to him. It was a wonderful place with good food, great people, and terrific memories. I'll bet very few people out there know that the R&J originally stood for "Richard and Jim," the original owners' names. The only reason I know that is because my brother worked there, back in the day.

                    Then, the fire happened. To the insurance company who took their sky-high premiums for all of those years and then declared bankruptcy, yet was somehow *still* allowed to sell insurance: a pox on all of you. I hope that the monies that you took and still take burn a hole in your pocket, as it's already clearly burned a hole in your soul. I hope that one day you're treated as badly as you treated these wonderful people, and that you burn like their building did. It takes a special kind of person to get my ire up like that, but may justice prevail against you, you *theives*, *liars*, and *godless cashmongers*.

                    To the city of Royal Oak: thank you for supporting the Partons throughout the whole mess. It impressed the crap out of me that a city that's so eager to get new tenants in every available space was so patient with one of the oldest and best supporters of the city they called home. The city could have easily run roughshod over them because of this, but they took the high road, and I commend them for it. The building stood vacant for, what, 2+ years? That's a long time to be allowing precious real estate in that city to be vacant. Thank you for allowing them to fight until the end, even if it didn't work out the way that everyone would have liked.

                    Now I'm all depressed and everything. Not only is R&J gone, but it's been replaced with yet another crappy Thai place...that gives Royal Oak far too many Thai places in a five block (approximately) radius. To know that Leo's Coney Island has basically taken the place of R&J in Royal Oak is anathema to me.

                    ::sigh::

                  2. Don't worry, I'd never go back. I miss R&J too -- and Corner Coney is looking a little weathered these days, I'm not sure if it's open or not.

                    1. Sy Thai
                      315 Hamilton Row
                      Birmingham, MI

                      Right down the same street from the Palladium Theater, kiddycorner from Hunter House.
                      I've never had a bad meal there in the 6-7 years Ive been going. Very flavorful, with a diverse menu. Reasonable prices.

                      8.5/10.

                      1. I haven't found a whole lot that I like on the East Side, but in Southfield there is Bangkok Hung Cafe off of Northwestern by Beans and Cornbread. Favorite Thai place around, EXTREMELY Busy for lunch. I normally get the Pad Ped out there, which is addicting and delicious.

                        If you were to ask me if they make their food "hot" or "Mild" compared to other thai places, I'd say "medium". If you like it really really really hot, You'll need to push them for it to be "Thai Hot" or "extra hot Plus plus plus plus PLUS!". I get it hot there, which is enough for me.

                        Try it, it's good.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Daederik

                          In general, asking for Thai hot (or Indian hot) is a good way to get the maximum. Also, for true hot lovers, go to No Thai in Ann Arbor (3 locations) and get the "Dim Mak" (The Death Touch). Insanity.

                          1. re: Jim M

                            Well I got out to No Thai today (Plymouth Road Location)....order the Drunken Noodles with Chicken "Dim Mak" style. Hate to tell you this....while the dish tasted pretty good, The Dim Mak was pretty tame. To the point I went up and got a bottle of Thai Ketchup to ramp up the heat some more. Compared to Bangkok Cafe in Plymouth and Pi's out in Hazel Park....these guys were still in the little leagues for heat.

                            Now...I recognize I recognize I am in a very small group of people that like it this hot. So it is not at all a knock on the restaurant per se. Like I said...it was good tasting.

                            Anyways I got to go out to Sparrow Meats today to get my favorite bacon in the world. The Double Thick Cut Ohio Bacon. Also noticed he is selling Birkshire porkbelly too. Soon as I exhaust my current stock of bellys I am gonna go grab 3-4 from him and whip up some bacon of my own.

                            1. re: JanPrimus

                              Double thick Ohio bacon. There you go again, JP, on your fascination with the Buckeye girls.

                              1. re: vtombrown

                                I married a Buckeye even....Who now works at U of M! :)

                              2. re: JanPrimus

                                I'm impressed. I often order "hot" there, but I can't take the Dim Mak (which was the kung fu technique rumored to have killed Bruce Lee). It's a fun little operation -- not the fanciest Thai food around, but they cook it up in seconds and serve it piping hot. I like the "No Thai 4 U" shirts they sell at the campus location.

                                1. re: Jim M

                                  I thought Dim Mak sounded familiar. Now I know!

                                  I saw "No Thai FTW!" shirts today....

                                  FTW= "For the Win"

                                  Good old netspeak!

                                2. re: JanPrimus

                                  Pi's has new owners. Not good.

                                  1. re: yorbacus

                                    While I understand that there's been pretty much a wholesale change of staff at Pi's, what you're saying is categorically untrue. Pi is still there, and in charge. Gone are his wife, apparently (don't know what that's all about...), James and his wife, and others. Pi is *back* from taking care of his mother in Thailand, and he's shuttered the Sterling Heights Pi's, and is concentrating on the Hazel Park one. There does seem to be some bad blood between Pi and James, at the very least.

                                    I have to admit, though, that even with the price increases and Pi's more surly attitude, I'm glad he's back, if only because the tom yum soup is back to normal. While he was gone, the tom yum was being made by someone else, and that someone else didn't know what the heck they were doing. The taste was all *wrong*, and the tom yum is just my Reason #1 for going there.

                                    Don't get me wrong: I like lots of other menu items there as well, but that's my standard-bearer for Pi's. In fact, it just may be my favorite soup, ever. So, when the soup went downhill in his absence, I was dismayed, and ended up not going to Pi's nearly as often.

                                    I'll fully spot that the way the operation is running now isn't as customer-friendly and homey feeling as it was when Pi wasn't there, but at least it was Pi's abilities that were being put on display even when he wasn't there personally. *He's* the one who put together the menu, knows the right ingredients in the recipes, etc. As much as I liked James, he's still not as good as Pi is.

                                    If Pi's has new owners, then why would Pi be there all the time? I doubt this very highly. The staff has been completely overhauled, yes...but the head of the kitchen is still the right man.

                                    1. re: yorbacus

                                      Totally agree. I didn't understand what all the fuss was about Pi's, since all my try-outs there (all in recent months) were just meh. Now I know why.

                              3. boagman said: "while there are some places that are meant to be eaten in, I've yet to really see a Thai "fine dining" establishment." -- Because South Asian and Southeast Asian food, generally, is NOT supposed to be fine dining! Genuine Thai food--made by the people, for the people--is humble, casual food, a lot of it would be considered "street food". If you really care about the taste and authenticity of "ethnic" food in the U.S., the decor/atmosphere of the restaurant cannot matter (and often behaves inversely to the taste of the food).

                                And as a general rule of thumb: Any Thai restaurant with the word "Bistro" or "Cafe" is going to be Westernized/Americanized. The same can be said for any Asian restaurant, actually, be it Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian...

                                The ONLY real deal Thai restaurant in metro Detroit is:

                                Thai Taste
                                5063 Livernois Rd
                                Troy, MI 48098
                                (248) 813-0900

                                What's good about Thai Taste?
                                - fresh ingredients, perfect spice levels
                                - glutinous wide noodles (the REAL stuff--not the scrawny thin noodles the Americanized places always try to pass off in pad se ewe)
                                - spicy eggplant dish
                                - pad se ewe
                                - duck curry, and any other curry for that matter
                                - southern Thai noodle
                                - beef jerky

                                21 Replies
                                1. re: jjspw

                                  The problem with "general rules" are they are generalized.

                                  Thai Bistro in Canton may not have the exact same menu items but they have been serving up some of the freshest ingredients (I have yet to find a place where the ingredients taste as fresh as this place), with the perfect spice levels for some (Perfect being highly subjective), they have the old school wide noodle and they have just great food. The person responsible for Thai Bistro has been cooking Thai food in Detroit since 1974. If you want to discredit them for using nicer china...so be it...but their food is top notch. I just which they could get the spice level up.

                                  I look forward to trying out Thai Taste though.

                                  1. re: JanPrimus

                                    Sounds like more of a standard rule for around here than for everywhere. I definitely recall places in Chicago that had cafe in their name, and they were pretty legit "real" Chinese ( actually more like Hong Kong) places. I do wanna try Thai Taste though, because I tend not to eat much Thai around here for a few of the reasons jjspw suggested. Once you've been to like Chicago and tried some Thai there, most of the places around here seem to come up pretty short . Do they do Thai Fried chicken there too ?

                                    1. re: moose734

                                      I think Thai Taste has a fried chicken (maybe wings?) appetizer. Not 100% certain, though.

                                      I'll also check out Thai Bistro, JanPrimus. Thanks for the note about the wide noodle there--that really sells a place for me!

                                      I definitely agree that there are exceptions to the"general" rules. However, if you go to eat in an entirely ethnic immigrant neighborhood in a large city, none of the restaurants are called "_____ bistro". Detroit doesn't really have an area like this, except for Mexicantown, I guess.

                                      1. re: jjspw

                                        Well March is National Noodle Month....lets do this!

                                        1. re: JanPrimus

                                          National Noodle Month? I'm in!

                                          Want to do a meetup/eatup at Thai Bistro some weekend soon? I'm not available toward the end of March, but these first two weekends should work well for me.

                                          1. re: jjspw

                                            With out trying to sound to Punny.....My weekends are pretty much eaten up for the month. It would have to be in April.

                                            1. re: JanPrimus

                                              April's good too! I'm more available in April anyway!

                                        2. re: jjspw

                                          > ... entirely ethnic immigrant neighborhood in a large city ... Detroit doesn't
                                          > really have an area like this, except for Mexicantown.

                                          Hamtramck? Dearborn?

                                          1. re: rainsux

                                            Score, and score. Both would certainly qualify in my book.

                                      2. re: JanPrimus

                                        Had lunch at Thai Taste today and the eggplant special was very tasty. They do have chicken wings on the menu.

                                        1. re: JanPrimus

                                          Love that Thai Bistro!

                                          1. re: Rheta

                                            Me too. Love the flavours and fresh ingredients.

                                        2. re: jjspw

                                          Thanks for the tip on Thai Taste restaurant. Nice little place, serving good quality (Americanized) Thai food, for the price. I had “Pad Thai Chilli,” and I plan to go back for it. It is typical pad thai, except that broccoli is added, peanuts are withheld, and it features their supposedly homemade wide noodles. Yum! I ordered some Chinese stir fried noodles for the kid, and also a red curry pork, but neither could touch the Pad Thai Chilli.

                                          This appears to be a husband-and-wife owned business, but I couldn’t tell to whom the Thai wife was married---the elder Thai man or the elder Gringo seriously at work in back. In any event, I spoke with the Thai man and woman, learning that she moved here from Northeast Thailand (a town called Loei, I think). This is an extremely hardscrabble rural region, from where the country’s security guards, gangster muscle and (Thai) country musicians come. She definitely is not Chinese or Cambodian or from one of the ethnic groups displaced to Thailand. When in that region, years ago, I recall there being as many nasty-scary foods as there were delicious foods, given that they had to make do with limited means, some (not all) polluted lakes, warm climate and substandard refrigeration.

                                          She was unapologetic about serving Americanized Thai food. Whatever is a sure sell. And, as I said, I liked it. By Americanized, I mean light on the fish sauce and garlic, light on the fried chili paste (orders for “hot” just get extra sprinkles of so-so chili powder), Chinese rice instead of Jasmine, no fresh “bird” chilies in sight, and the national dish som tum (shredded, pounded, green papaya salad) is not on the menu, etc., etc..

                                          However, the Thai gentleman, whose name is “Steve,” emphasized that they will make ANY traditional Thai dish, upon request (not during the crowded lunch hour), as long as they receive a couple days advance notice. He mentioned that the som tum I referred to, above, would be a good choice, as well as a fresh whole fish poached in a broth including herbs, garlic, chilies, lime juice, etc., or a “meatball” noodle soup, and/or various deployments of sticky (glutinous) rice. I forgot to ask whether they are adept with mango and/or pomelo. I intentionally didn’t ask about durian, as I figure the only guy in town who could man-up to something like that would be JanPrimus.

                                          May be worth a group night. Or, here is something in which you may be interested—the big Thai holiday (Songkran) is in mid-April this year, so local Thais and monks are having a public celebration, and it is catered in part by this Thai Taste restaurant (April 17)—I think it is at the KOC hall in Clawson, but the fliers aren’t ready and my kid wouldn’t let me chat with Steve any longer tonight, such that I could get the advance details… Cheers

                                          1. re: vtombrown

                                            OK OK....I guess I am getting a rep as the will try anything guy :)

                                            Although I have one rule....NO BALLS! Eye's or otherwise!

                                            Like the idea of a group visit for Authentic food!

                                            Speaking of Red Curry Pork....that was yesterdays lunch! Just had it from Thai Bistro...still yummy.

                                            1. re: JanPrimus

                                              :-) I think the Travel Channel is changing the way we talk about food!
                                              I'll gather/post some more info about the Songkran event. I went about five years ago (probably different sponsors, but same general crowd), and it was fun and the food was a bit interesting---of course, catered buffet food IS catered buffet food....an inescapable truth.
                                              Sounded like jjspw may be setting up an April date at Thai Taste. I'll keep an eye out, in case it becomes an open invitation, and if inquired will offer up my two-cents for a dish or two to include in the order. Extra mild, low cal, gluten free (just kidding).

                                              1. re: vtombrown

                                                I actually went to a Thai Temple fundraising event catered by Thai Taste at the KOC Clawson hall earlier in March. Delicious food!!! I'm excited that there's another event next month.

                                                I'd still love to do a get-together at Thai Taste, or even at the April 17 event. Any preferences? How do you all normally set up a get-together--like, do you start a new thread?

                                                1. re: jjspw

                                                  Re: the get-together, it's kind of an odd thing. To my recollection, the Chow mods don't "allow" posts about get-togethers to be stickied or anything like that. However, if such a thing were to occur "spontaneously"...well, what are they to do? ;)

                                                  1. re: boagman

                                                    Crap, I thought you guys knew how to do it, w/o making trouble with the moderators. Anyway, to answer jjspw's question, I think it would be a nicer thing if a custom meal was served at Thai Taste. Special food and rewards for proprietors who do food right.
                                                    My Songkran feast info was more for a fun thing for people to do on their own, as it will be pretty crowded and it would look weird if a hodgepodge of gringos gathered there and tried to sit together. (I still owe you all the Festival info...hopefully I'll get my act together next week.)

                                                    Let's let a few more members weigh-in over the weekend (likes/dislikes about Thai restaurant foods), and then, surely, something compliant will start to coalesce among Thai Taste chowhounds.

                                                    1. re: vtombrown

                                                      We hate to ruin the fun of getting away with something forbidden, but we absolutely allow putting together Chowdowns. We do ask that the organizational details (who is coming, what time, cost, etc.) be done off the board, but we encourage and will even sticky the announcement post for you.

                                                      To see our rules for hosting Chowdowns and other meetups, read this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3676...

                                                    2. re: boagman

                                                      Hounds on many different boards have organized dinners and other gatherings and they're always a lot of fun--plus the reports after are great chow tips!

                                                      We have a couple of guidelines we ask organizers to follow in order to keep the focus of the boards on chow talk and not on RSVPs and other organizational details. The main guideline is that posts to the boards should be announcements (and followup reports!) only--all discussion, scheduling and RSVPing should happen off the boards.

                                                      The way most people handle this is by posting an initial announcement to their local board with an email address for people to contact if they're interested in getting together for a Chowhound dinner. If you use the 'report' link on that announcement, you can ask us to sticky it to the top of the appropriate board so it doesn't fall off the front page.

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                                                      Once the group has decided on a concrete plan, you can post a second announcement to the boards, with the specific details, again, including an email address so people can RSVP offline. If you 'report' that one, we'll sticky it in place of the original thread.

                                                      Once you reach your deadline for RSVPing, send us a quick email to remind us, and we'll unsticky the announcement post (using 'report' doesn't work on an already stickied post).

                                                      Then, once your dinner has happened, start a new thread so people can report back on what they ate and whether it was delicious so other hounds can benefit from your experiences.

                                                      Good luck with your event!

                                                    3. re: jjspw

                                                      jjspw,
                                                      The Songkran event this year will be more like the Thai Temple fundraising event you recently went to, rather than like the Troy Songkran event I went to five years ago (for better or for worse, I don't know).

                                                      Anyway, Steve at Thai Taste (248-813-0900) tells me that the Songkran event is at the same Knights of Columbus Hall* you mention, and the date is Apr-17 from 7pm-1am. Admission is $15, covering All-You-Can-Eat Thai food. *KOC Hall is at 870 Main Street, in Clawson. There will be "live" Thai music and dance, I believe.

                                                      This is a big, precious holiday for Thais, so even an underperforming event likely would be quite fun. I don't know whether alcohol will be available, so one might want to stock the hip flask(?). Again, I'm not a representative of this event, so confirm details in advance with Thai Taste--during non-peak business hours--or, roll the dice and just show up).

                                                      PS--the old Troy event I attended didn't include a traditional "Songkran water fight," and I doubt the KOC event will have one, either. So, no need to pack your water pistol or an extra change of clothes.

                                            2. My favorite is the Orchid Cafe II on W. Square Lake Rd in Troy. I've never been to the original Orchid Cafe on Rochester road but it's a family owned operation so i would figure the food is consistent. I've tried some of the other places listed on here and the Orchid Cafe is the best imo.

                                              1. Wow, do I miss Ny's Thai Cafe! For me, the best was the tom yum soup, it was addictive! I've tried many places and have had no luck, has anyone found a place that makes the tom yum like they did? The closest I've actually gotten was a batch I made myself, after googling recipes and lots of tweaking, but it's still not the same. Any help would be appreciated!

                                                Thanks!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: beckis19

                                                  You and me, both. I *loved* that place, but oddly, didn't really care for the tom yum the one time I had it. Loved tons of other dishes, though, and miss it, badly. Only Thai place I know of that had creme brulee, too, and a pretty decent version!

                                                2. I lived in Detroit years ago. In Novi there was New Bangkok across from the mall. Absolutely fabulous. Every person I took there fell in love with the place. I was so sad to hear it went out of business. When I went there it was always busy. I travel extensively and eat Thai food everywhere I can but nothing has ever come close to the food there.

                                                  -----
                                                  New Bangkok
                                                  627 S Opdyke Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326

                                                  1. Tongue Thai'd in Royal Oak On Woodward, just north of Normndy is one of the best Thai places within a reasonable drive of Royal Oak. They just opened up last month. I had the Pad Thai and springrolls and both were great. Forgot what my husband had, but he was impressed as well. Even our 20-month old son loved the Pad Thai (I'm a wuss, I get it no spice), and had fun eating the noodles. We had gotten Siam Spicy a few weeks ago, and he wouldn't tough their pad thai! Sorry to say I wussed out on trying the Tom Yum as it had tomatoes, and I'm not much on tomatoes. They have limited seating (5 or so tables, I think).

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: beckis19

                                                      Glad to hear this. I stopped by about a couple weeks ago, as I saw the "UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP" banner on the storefront, and wanted to see what was what. The previous place, Thai House Express, was *repulsively* bad. It would be hard to do any worse than they did.

                                                      Unfortunately, I had just eaten 30 minutes before, and I wasn't hungry at all when I stopped, but I met the owners (one of whom is the chef/cook), and checked out the menu. It looked decent, but I wasn't able to order anything at the moment due to not being able to stuff any more food down.

                                                      I still want to try it, and I'm glad for the good initial report. But you're right: to my knowledge, tomatoes don't belong in tom yum, at least in my experience they don't.

                                                      1. re: boagman

                                                        Tongue Thai'd isn't the most authentic Thai restaurant out there. It's really more like Asian fusion, Thai-inspired. They're not *trying* to be authentic, thus the tomato in many dishes. That being said, the food is VERY good quality, fresh, and flavorful. I can deal with unauthentic if the food is good--and at Tongue Thai'd, the food really *is* good.

                                                        One of their house specialties is a three-color curry, which uses yellow, red, and green curry. It's very thick and rich, but obviously, not very authentic. Still, very tasty.

                                                        One of the things they do prepare quite authentically is the pad see ewe--with the wide noodles and gai lan. It could be a tad sweeter, but in general, it's the best pad see ewe I've had in the Detroit area.

                                                        Easily worlds better than the previous occupant "Thai House Express". ;-)

                                                        1. re: jjspw

                                                          Here are a few links to make Tom Yum Soup. Have fun and enjoy with or without tomatoes!

                                                          http://www.realthairecipes.com/recipe...
                                                          http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaisnac...
                                                          http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaisnac...
                                                          http://www.templeofthai.com/recipes/t...

                                                          1. re: jjspw

                                                            I've done carryout twice from Tongue Thai'd. The food isn't bad. However, 45 minutes for carryout (I was assured "35, 40 max" which still seems a bit high) was a bit hard to accept. In the 25 minutes I was actually waiting on the premises, there were three other groups there, two ahead of me, and none got food while I was there. One group appeared to be dining in, and I don't think they even had their order taken (other than drinks) in that time. It doesn't appear to be the most well-organized kitchen (for example, there seemed to be a problem prioritizing which dishes to make when for which orders). Again the food isn't bad, but unless they tighten things up a bit, it's not worth it to me at least. Hopefully this was an anomalous night for them. (I personally don't think Siam Spicy is obviously worse in quality, they're close by, and will get you your carryout in 15-20.) One thing I do like, from a parent's standpoint, is that they have a kid's menu. Also they deliver, though I haven't tried that (and the wait might not be worth it. I actually overheard concern from an employee about making a delivery order on time.)

                                                            1. re: Leonard Kim

                                                              My husband did carry out from them last night, looks like they're doing better- he said it was only about 15 mins. We got the Tom Yum minus tomatoes.... it was very good. If you liked Ny's Tom Yum you should like Tongue Thai'd's. All the right flavors were there, though the balance of flavors was a little different than Ny's. But it was great to have a really good Tom Yum again! The closest I could find before this was actually my own concoction, but there was always a flavor or 2 missing that I couldn't quite figure out what it was, even after looking through vartious recipes online.

                                                      2. Thai Thai in Ypsilanti is the best Thai food I've had in SE Michigan and no one seems to really know about it. I'm a Thai food and noodle fanatic and this is the best you can find. Very small space and more of a take out place, but it does have tables and the food makes it all worth it.

                                                        2612 East Washtenaw Avenue
                                                        Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
                                                        (734) 572-1999