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May 30, 2007 11:02 AM

Cafe de Thai (Matawan, NJ)

Has anyone else tried this place? On a recommendation, we did for the first time last weekend and it was wonderful. They serve French and Thai food, but we were warned to avoid the French and stick with the Thai...excellent recommendation. I admit I got a little nervous when I also saw osso bucco on the menu...nothing French or Thai about THAT!!

But the Thai was fresh, creative, and beautifully presented. The chicken satay, spring rolls, and steamed vegetable dumplings were fabulous, as was the evening's special of whole red snapper in tamarind sauce. The Thai beef salad with lime dressing was a standout. Dessert was a delicate Thai pumpkin custard served with sticky rice topped with mango. The homemade coconut ice cream was excellent as well.

Prices are moderate. BYO.

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  1. Is this the place next door to WestLake on 34?

    4 Replies
    1. re: seal

      The address is 1016 Route's a strip mall. I don't recall seeing a WestLake, but there are two other restaurants there also...a Chinese restaurant and a pizza place.

      1. re: MartiniQueen

        lol. That Chinese place next door is WestLake.

        And I have gotten take out from Cafe de Thai once and thought it was alright.

        1. re: seal

          I recall someone on this board posting that until recently, a different Thai restaurant occupied the space that is now Cafe de Thai. It's possible, seal, that the take-out you had was from the previous restaurant.

          We seem to be having a mini-busting out of Thai restaurants in the general area: Thai Chili and Thai Thai, in Old Bridge, and now Cafe de Thai, in Matawan. Based on this review, I'm putting Cafe de Thai on my "go to" list. Thanks, MartiniQueen!

          1. re: RGR

            (I know this is old, but...) Yes, the previous restaurant was Thai Noodle and, though it really wasn't, gave the impression that it was sort of a fast food thai take-out sort of place (judging by the signage), but it was a family owned small restaurant. I only ate there twice, both takeout, but found the food to be excellent. We've only been to the Cafe de Thai once, but the Pad Thai was excellent in my opinion. We didn't have dessert or apps that night...

    2. On my way home today I was stopping at WestLake to pick up some food for dinner and thought I would also give Cafe de Thai a try. Good call.

      Much, much, much better than the other place that used to be there. True, we only had the grilled beef and a green curry, but it was all fresh and good.

      They don't serve papaya salad, which is possibly my favorite thai dish and also great for my diet, but they do make a similar-ish "Thai cabbage slaw" that was very good. My grilled beef came with that and also some good coconut sticky rice and a small house salad with a different and interesting dressing.

      Thanks for the post MQ - I'll be back to try more things soon.

      1. Had lunch at Cafe de Thai, our first time there. Ordered steamed vegetable dumplings, seafood noodle bowl, grilled beef over noodles, 1 iced coffee, 2 desserts. Bill was $37, before tip.
        Overall I like the place and the cooking. I especially appreciate that the cooking is a bit different. The chef is trying new ideas, some I liked, some I didn't. Husband and I definitely want to return.
        I was not thrilled with the vegetable dumpling appetizer. It was presented beautifully, but the filling was mostly corn kernals and peas -- certainly from frozen vegetables. I would have preferred filling made of fresh vegetables. The sauce had worchestershire and toasted sesame oil. To me, an odd mix.
        The entrees were good. My grilled beef was tender and tasty, served over noodles, bean sprouts, and shredded lettuce. A generous portion, and fun to eat. Husband liked his seafood noodle bowl.
        The creme brulee was served in a deep dish... which made for a high custard to candy ratio. It tasted good.
        The pumpkin custard was really interesting. A small ramekin had a layer of custard, topped with a mix of slivers of sweet pumpkin and other ingredients. A small scoop of sticky rice on the side. All drizzled with sweet coconut sauce. And side-drizzles of mango sauce and berry sauce. It was fun to eat with all the tastes and textures. It was pleasant and not very sweet.

        When we go back, I am eager to try the chocolate souflee, which requires a 15 minute wait.

        The service was very nice and the room is pleasant.

        1. Info:

          Cafe De' Thai: Offering Authentic Thai Cuisine
          1016 State Route 34, Matawan, NJ

          1. My FH and I tried Cafe de Thai for the first time last week. Overall, our verdict was: nice place, decent food, worthy of going back.

            I started with the Tom Kha Gai soup, which was quite good and hit the spot. It came in a generous bowl. His first course, Maryland Crab Cakes, he found to be tasty.

            For my main course, I had the Chicken Pad Pak. It was your run of the mill pad pak, nothing to rave about, but certainly good. His grilled shrimp came with a scoop of wild rice and a green salad. He said were good.

            I saved room for the Pumpkin custard, as Val noted, was a good, not too sweet ending.

            I want to go back and try the French side of the menu sometime.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DJMarilyn

              Do they have a website? I can't find one.

              1. re: charmel

                No website. :-( We had dinner there for the first time on Friday. I'll be posting a report shortly.