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Cafe de Thai (Matawan, NJ)

MartiniQueen May 30, 2007 11:02 AM

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. seal RE: MartiniQueen May 30, 2007 12:36 PM

    Is this the place next door to WestLake on 34?

    4 Replies
    1. re: seal
      MartiniQueen RE: seal May 30, 2007 01:03 PM

      The address is 1016 Route 34...it'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
        seal RE: MartiniQueen May 30, 2007 01:26 PM

        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
          r
          RGR RE: seal May 30, 2007 02:36 PM

          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
            k
            kashmirkat RE: RGR Feb 14, 2008 02:37 PM

            (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. seal RE: MartiniQueen Jun 2, 2007 10:30 AM

      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. val ann c RE: MartiniQueen Dec 22, 2007 01:16 PM

        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. val ann c RE: MartiniQueen Dec 22, 2007 01:29 PM

          Info:

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

          1. DJMarilyn RE: MartiniQueen Feb 15, 2008 12:33 PM

            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
              c
              charmel RE: DJMarilyn Feb 17, 2008 06:33 AM

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

              1. re: charmel
                r
                RGR RE: charmel Feb 17, 2008 06:39 AM

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

            2. shabbystorm RE: MartiniQueen Feb 20, 2008 03:41 AM

              This is by far the best Thai restaurant in Central NJ. I am a foodie and this place goes on the do not miss list! Wonderful menu, flavors, and service! The place is packed on the weekends so make reservations.

              1. k
                kadeshpa RE: MartiniQueen May 2, 2008 06:22 PM

                Ate there yesterday. Pretty good Thai food. I'm a recent transplant from Bloomfield where I was spoiled by Brookside Thai. I'd have to say this place is on par with them. I've had better Thai in Chinatown, NYC but for NJ I'll go to this place again.

                Per Chowhound user tip, I had the Pumpkin Custard. It was great!

                1 Reply
                1. re: kadeshpa
                  seal RE: kadeshpa May 2, 2008 06:31 PM

                  I think the french food there is at least as good as the thai food.

                  Very good lamb for instance.

                2. angelo04 RE: MartiniQueen May 5, 2008 11:09 AM

                  Do they have a web site? Not having any luck finding it.

                  1. t
                    tom246 RE: MartiniQueen May 25, 2008 01:57 PM

                    Wife and I had dinner here last night based on the good vibes of others on this board. It was our first time and we had a very enjoyable meal.
                    The menu has a nice mix of Thai and French cuisine.

                    For starters we shared the Thai Curry Puffs and Shrimp Dumplings. Both were very good, the curry puffs stood out for me. They were especially tasty.
                    For entrees we went French and ordered the Duck with Raspberry sauce and cassoulet.
                    Both were well prepared and flavorful, the cassoulet was my entree, a generous portion of duck lamb and sausage with tender white beans.

                    For dessert we shared the chocolate souffle (ordered in advance) which was rich and delicious. A perfect ending to the meal.
                    2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, before tax and tip the bill was $53.00 making this place and excellent value.
                    We enjoyed a 2000 Grand Veneur Les Origines CdP which was wonderful with the food.

                    Service was friendly and efficient. Next time we go we look forward to trying the Thai entrees as they also looked great coming out of the kitchen.

                    Only problem was on a Saturday the place was only about a1/3 full at 7:30. I hope it was the holiday weekend.

                    1. shabbystorm RE: MartiniQueen Mar 8, 2009 05:40 AM

                      Sadly it has been reported on CHOW they are out of business!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: shabbystorm
                        a
                        aacharya RE: shabbystorm Mar 9, 2009 01:16 PM

                        Yes and no. It's now Siam Smiles. But no reports yet.

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