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Jul 5, 2007 06:15 PM

Fresno Thai

Has anyone tried Sweet Ginger? It is the closest Thai place to us and I hate to drive a long time for take-out.

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  1. Sweet Ginger, IMHO, is the best Thai in Fresno. The green curry chicken, mango salad, and the salmon with garlic/ginger sauce are among my favorites. George has been cooking Thai in Fresno for over 20 years and there's a reason for the longevity.
    You're referring to "take out", but the restaurant interior itself is a cut above the usual Thai place.

    I think SG may be closed for a couple of weeks around the end of June or early July so George can visit his family in Thailand, but when it re-opens, give it a try.

    9 Replies
    1. re: FAT Traveler

      >>> closed for a couple of weeks<<<

      This is why I gave up on them several years ago. I tried their front door many times only to bump my head and read a closed for some reason sign. Now, I've planned on going again and guess what!!??

      Thanks much for you review. If I can get over my angst, maybe it's worth another try.

      1. re: Gail

        Gail, we've been fans of SG the past decade, since they opened their doors, iirc. Like FAT Traveler they're our goto place for take out since it's less than 2 mi due south from us, but also for a nice sit down dinner. The fish specials have always been memorable and the dishes executed superbly. Memory is a little foggy but I don't believe they've ever charged us a corkage fee, service always friendly and accomodating. Only other place in town that matches their quality and ambience I think would be Thai Royal Orchid at the SW corner of Herndon and First. SG usually wins out since it's less of a drive (5 min instead of 10, hmmm sounds kind of petty, but sometimes just don't want to deal with it). If you go, please report back, love to hear local hounds opinions, especially on places we're fond of.

        1. re: PolarBear

          Thanks for your thoughts on this place. I would be happy to report back if I ever get in the front door.

          A place that doesn't charge a corkage fee warms my heart.

          I'm very familiar with TRO when they were at the Thai House. Haven't been to the new place. We were VERY good Thai House customers.

          1. re: Gail

            I can relate to a little of your frustration, it seems that several times we've been really psyched for SG and found them closed, but just on their regular night, Wed. iirc? Again, don't hold me to the no corkage since I don't pay that much attention, just happy to be able to bring a bottle of Lois Gruner Veltliner or Clairborne and Churchill Dry Riesling to accompany their dishes, I can understand their inability to stock a variety of friendly wines since the grape isn't considered a complimentary facet of the cuisine.

            Our first visit to TRO (think I reported on it, again fuzzy...) the owner came out, possibly sensing our indecisive table banter, and offered to order for us after hearing a few preferences. It couldn't have been better, we learned that he was in the Naval Reserves stationed at Lemoore and was the personal chef for a high ranking officer, but assured us that if he was called away that his lovely wife would make sure we were satisfied whenever we came in. Great waitstaff and atmosphere.... hmmmm, might have to drive that extra 5 min every now and then.

            1. re: PolarBear

              Hubby and I have also tried to stop at SG only to be turned away. And it's a 15 minute drive for us! TRO has never let us down, hubby and I absolutely love their incredible fish dishes and I am extremely picky about the freshness of fish. The waitstaff is always incredibly helpful and I think they have stopped charging corkage after the first bottle (corkage being $8, iirc).

              1. re: PolarBear

                PB, ordered take-out from Sweet Ginger tonight. Having never been there, I ordered my 3 favorite Thai things.
                Phud (Pud) Thai with chicken: They didn't have a very good do on this dish, too salty, few to no peanuts, very little egg, no onions, plenty of chicken, too many noodles for the rest of the ingredients.
                Pork Satay: Very good as was the peanut sauce.
                Panang Chicken: Very good with just the right amount of spice with the steamed rice.
                I'll go back, but wish the Royal Orchid (Old Thai House) was closer for take-out.

                1. re: Gail

                  Next time, try the Green Curry Chicken and the Salmon with ginger/garlic sauce. Both are devine.

                  1. re: FAT Traveler

                    Now that the weather has turned cool and drizzly, my wife insists on cocooning at home with comfy takeout for dinner and a Blockbuster DVD. One of our favorites is a spicy mix from Thai Royal Orchid (which y'all seem to like). Sutee and his crew have maintained the food quality, service and decor over the years and I have to give them my two thumbs up for offering consistently delicious Thai dishes. I first learned about Thai cuisine over 15 years ago when Sutee was at Thai House and Fresno is lucky to have a relatively upscale place like TRO. I've tried Thai restaurants all over California and Nevada, and TRO is in my top five.

                    1. re: fresnohotspot

                      Have you tried his Special Chow Mein (yes, I know it's Chinese)? It is mild and bears little resemblance to the Chinese versions. We like to other it to accompany a spicy Thai dish. I haven't been to his "new" place, but you have whetted my appetite. We were very good customers at The Thai House.

      2. According to a post today to the the Fresno Restaurant Critics yahoo group:
        (iirc, isn't this the same center as Thai Fusion?)

        White Lotus Thai Bistro is now open for lunch and dinner. We are
        located at the NorthEast corner of Willow and Nees Ave. in the Parkway
        Trails Shopping center.

        1365 N. Willow Ave., Suite #160
        Clovis CA 93619
        Phone: 559.299.6809

        10 Replies
        1. re: PolarBear


          I saw that their sign said open when my kids wanted to go to Angelo's. Haven't tried it yet (but I just came from lunch at the North India Bar and Grill and will post a review on the Indian thread.)

          1. re: PolarBear

            Hey PB, we had seen that White Lotus was open. They are at Willow and Nees and Thai Fusion is at Willow and Herndon. So they are close together, but not in the same shopping center.

            Incidentally, Thai Palms at the corner of Palm and Nees looks to be opening any day now. Hmmm...looks like we need to get busy eating some Thai!

            1. re: glazebrookgirl

              Thanks for straightening me out, gbg, that whole area out there is like another city to me. What other dining options are on that corner?

              1. re: PolarBear

                Not gbg but....

                Okay, on the corner where White Lotus is:
                Angelos Italian - think John's Incredible Pizza on a smaller scale. Food is passable but it's buffet and kids seem to like it; typical salad, pasta, bread sticks, soup, pizza and ice cream fare.

                NYFD - very good deli sandwiches with an east coast vide.

                Across the street but still north of Nees -

                Deli Delicious - good fresh sandwiches with no east coast vibe

                At the corner of Willow and Herndon (in the Target shopping center)

                Thai Fusion - very good Thai
                Jimboy's Tacos - apparently it started in Sacramento; some people swear by them, I think they're decent but not the best I've ever had

                1. re: tavmark

                  Thanks, tavmark. I've been following a thread on Jimboy's in the Sacto area, wondering if they might be worth a stop. In all truth, I get really skeptical about any Mexican food north of say, Merced.

                  1. re: PolarBear

                    Jimboy's is good if you are in the mood for a good greasy taco. Their standard taco is ground beef, and cheddar or american cheese in a corn tortiall topped with parmesan cheese. However, they pale in comparison to Don Pepe's and the taco trucks that you have introduced me to.

                  2. re: tavmark

                    Spotted a new Jimboy's on the SW corner of Ashlan and Marks, took over the short lived Taco Autenico (iirc) that I reported on previously. It's on my usual home to work route so will try and stop in. Funny how this Thai thread evolved into Mexican recos, oh well.

              2. re: PolarBear

                My family and I have dined at White Lotus and really enjoyed. My teenage daughter is very picky, but loves the Chicken Satay and Pad Thai. Only gripe is there is only 4 pieces of chicken satay :( Otherwise we like this place alot, better than others we have tried and the decor is really nice!

                1. re: agentkerre

                  We drove by there on Saturday. Should give it a try. Our favorite place now is Toom Thai Cuisine on Blackstone and Herndon. It is behind Denny's, not an easy in and out situation, but the food is wonderful. It is owned by a lady who waited tables at the Thai House on Shaw when it was owned by Sutee. So far we have tried the satays, pud Thai and fried rice. All three were wonderful!! My next visit will be to have the Panang chicken. BTW, their peanut sauce is yummy.

                  1. re: Gail

                    Toom Thai has a new owner and is now called Gem of Thailand - the chef and staff have remained and the food is still pretty good. I stopped by there last Wednesday and had the Pork Chili Jam lunch plate, 9.50. It was nicely prepared and even had a hint of shrimp paste which rounded out the flavors unexpectedly well.

                    Gem Of Thailand
                    66 E. Herndon Av. (northeast corner at Blackstone)
                    Fresno, CA 93720

              3. Thai Palms is now open at the corner of Palm & Nees, and let me tell you the food is delicious. It's a little americanized than some Thai restaurants but everything is delicious. I even got some of my family who doesn't like Thai food to eat there, and they all loved it! It is easily my new thai restaurant since Lemon Tree closed down.

                8 Replies
                1. re: skawes

                  My wife & I stopped at Thai Palms a couple of weeks ago for a little take-out, & unfortunately we were not as impressed. The food was not bad at all, but we didn't feel that the food was better than some of the other Thai places we regularly go to.

                  We tried the tom yum gai (chicken lemongrass soup) which tasted okay but didn't really taste like tom yum gai. It was more like a basic chicken soup. It didn't have much lemon grass nor much kaffir lime leaves, & it didn't have that nice, tangy sour/lime flavor that many tom yum gais have.

                  We also tried an order of basil chicken which was tasty--I'd eat it again if someone else ordered it--but wasn't so outstanding that I'd want to order it again myself. We asked for it spicy hot (I remember the woman who helped us saying, "Oh, you like your food hot?") & while it came with a number of sliced green peppers (they looked like jalapenos) the dish itself was not particularly spicy.

                  I spent a couple of minutes chatting with one of the women who works there. She said it was her family that opened the restaurant. They used to have a restaurant in the North Beach area of San Francisco, but evidently closed that one. They also own a Thai place somewhere down around Shields & Cedar, which she said is closed right now for refurbishing, & that it's more of a casual eating place than Thai Palms, which is more stylized & trendy inside.

                  We would like to return to Thai Palms & try some more of the menu. If there are any particular items we should order at Thai Palms, we'd love to hear about them.

                  1. re: alanstotle

                    I'm with Alan-the food's just not great at Thai Palms. I really want to like Thai Palms since it's very close to home but the food's just not that good. Sweet Ginger, which is a big hike from home, is still our "go to" place for Thai. When I do go to TP (alone for lunch because my family will only go to SG) I have the Spicy Basil Chicken or the Green Curry Chicken--those are the best two of the many items I've tried. The Spicy Eggplant with Pork is the 3rd item I'd order.
                    Sweet Ginger, on the other hand, has the best Mango Salad, Green Curry Chicken, and Salmon with Ginger/Garlic Sauce along with lots of other great items.

                    1. re: FAT Traveler

                      FT, have you tried Thai Royal Orchid (SW Herndon & First)? Sweet Ginger has been our go to place for several years since it's close to home but now we find outselves going the extra few miles for TRO's dishes at least half the time. We've found their Mango Salad tops SG's and the hot and sour soup is second only to Chef Liu's at Hunan. Usually we'll order the two dishes I just mentioned and have the chef surprise us with the remainder. It's been stellar every time.

                      1. re: PolarBear

                        We haven't been there for several years, but it sounds like it's time for a re-visit. It's closer to our new home than SG, so that's a plus too. BTW, do you know if TRO has a "corkage" policy? We try to take our own wine these days and don't mind paying a reasonable fee.

                        1. re: FAT Traveler

                          I don't seem to recall a corkage, so if there is one it must be minimal. We always take our own as well, usu. a Gruener Veltliner or a Dry Riesling. What have you found that works well?

                          1. re: FAT Traveler

                            I am pretty sure the corkage fee at TRO is set at $5, but most of the time they don't end up charging us at all. So, no guarantee that it is free, but even if you are charged, it won't break the bank.

                            PB, have enjoyed the Marlborough Riesling from New Zealand that is selling at Sam's for less than $20, iirc. It has a nice mineral taste balanced with a citrus-y finish.

                            1. re: glazebrookgirl

                              Which vintner, gbg? Was just at Old Doc's and was amazed how many Aussie Sauv. Blancs he had from that region. Will check the Rieslings next time.

                              1. re: PolarBear

                                The one we enjoyed most recently was the 2006 Lake Chalice Marlborough Riesling from New Zealand. D'Arcy at Sam's recommended it to us as a drier Riesling that paired well with Asian meals.

                  2. Saw in the paper that there is a new Thai restaurant opening up where the old Farenheit 5104 (Shaw/West) was at. Here is the link to Joan Obra's article:


                    Can't wait to check it out!!

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: cocktailqueen77

                      Just had lunch there with a friend, it's called Krua Thai. We shared an order of the egg rolls which were cigar shaped, but nice and crisp, not greasy. We also split an order of their Pad Thai and the Puhd Si Ew noodles with black soy sauce, thought both were excellent after adding some of their hot chili sauce. We arrived at 11:45 and it took a little over an hour since they were obviously slammed. Total for app, two noodle dishes, two drinks was $26 (pre t/t) with a 20% discount. The menu is quite large, lots to explore and we will be back.

                      1. re: PolarBear

                        Thx PB!! I thought the article was very admirable, and a definite for trying out soon.

                        1. re: PolarBear

                          We returned last night (Thurs) with another couple around 7 pm. It was apparent they'd had a fairly decent amount of seatings for a week night.

                          For apps we had the egg rolls and fried shrimp. Both very tasty and greasless. Entrees included the Cucumber Salad, Panang Curry w/ Shrimp, Chicken Param (w/ two types of broccoli, spinach not available), the Puhd Si Ew noodlesm and iirc, Fire Beef Salad or something like that. The peanut sauce with the Param was pretty good, however next time if spinach isn't available would order it with just the Chinese broccoli. LadyPB and our other female companion both really liked the Curry, us guys thought it was just OK, but would like to explore some of the others and order them more spicy. (We had asked for med-med hot). The cucumber salad was a hit all the way around, wonderful differences in textures and a myriad of flavors, including watermelon and some really intriguing bits that looked like carrots but were pickled, we eventually got one of the girls to interpret for us, they turned out to be persimmons. Likewise with the Puhd Se Ew noodles in the black soy sauce, great flavors especially after adding a little of the peppery vinegar mix they provide in the little bowls. This time they also brought a little wire rack that held four condiments, a dried pepper (and maybe curry) mix with an orangish hue, green pepper slices (jalapeno?) in liquid, a red hot pepper oil, and what appeared to be red chili jam. One other arrived in a very small bowl that was a pale orange brown. All had nice flavors that weren't overpowered by heat. We all loved the Fire Beef Salad's many layers of flavors but the beef itself was overdone and dried out, not sure if this is the style, e.g. dry fried, or if it would be possible to order it med. rare. We may have had one other dish, can't recall, but for everything, plus two Sapporos and corkage on two bottles of wine (sorry, didn't notice amount) the total was $101, pre tip.

                          The service and pacing has greatly improved, many more people serving, bussing, etc. I think one of the main problems is the language barrier, so many of the wait staff speak very little English but even so they were very eager to please and we didn't experience any of those long gaps between courses or in being able to ask for additional items.

                          Again, we'll be back, much more to explore and we were really impressed with what we could only call a different style to some of the dishes. Sure TRO and Sweet Ginger rule as far as what our perceptions of Thai food has been up til now, but we welcome and truly enjoy these new experiences on our palates. Here's hoping they're able to hold on in today's climate.

                          1. re: PolarBear

                            Thanks for the report PB! I am glad to hear that the service is getting better, I just hope that they didn't wind up scaring away any repeat business after that first weekend. I might have to give them a second try the next time I am in town after the holidays.

                            1. re: gmk1322

                              I had the same fears as you after our lunch visit, Garrett. They are trying really hard and I think they were blindsided by the impact of Joan Obra's column. I think even a seasoned, English fluent, veteran of the culinary arts would have been knocked off their game by what I witnessed in the early stages of opening. Please do report back if you try them again.

                        2. re: cocktailqueen77

                          Krua Thai is a definite miss for me. In fact, it is the first time I ever got up in the middle of a service to tell the manager that we were leaving!

                          We arrived on Saturday night at 6:00pm to a moderately busy scene. The group of 5 in front of us was already complaining about the wait to be seated at the few open tables. I was willing to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt since it was their grand opening weekend and the obvious increase in business due to the Fresno Bee article. There was no hostess in charge of the front and it took about 10 minutes for us to finally be seated at an open table that was there when we walked in. A random waiter took our order: The "Group A" meal which included: Egg Roll or Spring Roll, Pad Thai (with Chicken, Tofu, or Pork), Pa-Nang Chicken Curry, & rice for 2. I specified that we wanted the spring roll and Pad Thai Tofu along with two teas. This was when the experience took a turn for the worse.

                          It took about 10 minutes for the tea to come out in an infusion pot that contained no leaves in the infuser portion. Water came about 10 minutes after this along with a server that plopped down an order of egg rolls on our table and said, "We're out of spring rolls and this is all the kitchen has." Grateful for any food and semi-annoyed, we wolfed down the egg rolls, which weren’t too bad, lightly fried, and not to greasy. If our food had come out in the following 15 or so minutes everything would have been okay but we sat there for another 30 minutes with the surrounding tables also not receiving any food. At this point we had been sitting in the restaurant for a little more than an hour, with only a small order of egg rolls and a mug of tea to satiate us. The service was extremely indifferent, no apologies for delays and no explanations; many of the tables around us were becoming quite angry about the lack of food too. Fed up, we went to speak with the manager, who was busy talking with another angry diner near us, to pay for our egg rolls and tea before leaving. When we told the manager about the problems we encountered she told us that, "It's busy tonight and everyone is waiting." She then got a business card and wrote $20 credit on it before walking away. While I appreciate the gesture of the credit, her attitude and the overall dining experience left me dissatisfied and I will not be returning. We got in our car and headed to Royal Thai Orchid; where we received prompt service and delicious food that was quickly served by an attentive staff.

                          Just some observations based on the tables around us:
                          -The people to the right arrived to an empty beer bottle that was left on the table from the previous diners after the servers had cleaned and reset the table. They then waited about 35 minutes for their appetizer soup to come out. It was served as we were leaving.
                          -The people against the far wall had to wait 20 minutes to order after being seated and when they prompted the waitress by saying they were ready, she turned around and walked away.
                          -The people to the left had the worst of all. The appeared upset when we were seated and their first course came about 20 minutes after we were seated, but they had no plates! They asked 2 different servers for plates and it took about 5 minutes for those to come to their table. Their Pad Thai followed pretty quickly and then a soup was served, but no bowls, spoons, or ladle with the service. The gentleman waited for a server to come into our area for about 10 minutes when he could ask for a bowl and spoons. About 10 minutes later a server came out and put down a big to-go Styrofoam soup container and soup spoon before turning and walking away. The look on the diner's face said it all. They finally flagged down another server who brought two bowls and spoons so they could eat their cold soup.

                          1. re: gmk1322

                            Sorry to hear about your miserable experience. It sounds like you were very patient but they did not deliver. I love Thai Royal Orchid and the service has always been lovely there. I am glad that you managed to salvage your evening.

                          2. re: cocktailqueen77

                            Based on PolarBear's report (good food but a long wait) & gmk1322's miserable experience, it sound like Krau Thai has some service issues.

                            I wonder how much this is due to the fact that they are a new restaurant still going through their shake-down period. gmk's report suggests, however, that staff attitude might be a bigger problem than slow service.

                            I might be tempted to wait another month or two & then give them a try after the all the "new restaurant" attention has died down. If I do, though, I suppose my expectations might not be very high.

                            1. re: alanstotle

                              I had seen the sign a few times while driving to Clovis, but hadn't heard about it. Besides how great can a Clovis restaurant be with the name Thai Country Restaurant. Sounds like their Cowboy specialty might be hotcakes with a red curry sauce, or chile grits with fish sauce.

                              All kidding aside, I stopped there for lunch today and the place was packed. The interior was clean and well appointed and the food was delicious. I had the Panang chicken with steamed rice (8.50) and it hit the spot. The only negative was the slow service (did I say it was packed?) There was only one waitress for the twenty or so diners, but the food came out reasonably fast. They had as extensive a menu as Thai Royal Orchid and the prices were slightly friendlier. So if you find yourself in Clovis and hankering for some Thai, just giddy up over to 151 W. Bullard (at Villa) (559)298-6697.

                              1. re: fresnohotspot

                                A friend of mine took me here this summer and we've gone back a few times. She really likes it. I enjoy it, the food is fresh and the prices reasonable. Can't say why, but I'm not bowled over by it but I'd definitely recommend it.

                                1. re: tavmark

                                  Part of me agrees with you. I have been eating so much Thai and Vietnamese lately, that I've started looking for that unusual flavor or new spice combinations. Time to switch to Indian cuisine for a while. My dogs will go crazy with the different scents I give off.

                          3. Has there been a Fresno Thai CHOW meet or restaurant crawl?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: KenWritez

                              Not a formal chowdown. Maybe a year or so ago a few of us got together informally for a couple of very good dinners at Thai Royal Orchid. I think dimsumgirl's arrival in Fresno was the catalyst for at least one of those dinners. But that's about it (at least as far as I can recall).