Hamden CT - Thai Extrodinaire!
Just returned from an exceptional experience at The Terrace restaurant on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden. A few months ago, a flyer was on our mailbox for this restaurant, newly opened. It looked interesting because the description of:
'...delicious and uncommon Thai foods with French look by an experienced Thai chef who understands the spirit of Thai foods, cooks by her passion, and advanced her skill in Paul Bocuse Culinary Institute......"
that really piqued my interest.
So tonight we sought it out and were very, very excited by this new restaurant. This Thai food is so elevated beyond what I have experienced, beautiful presentations, wonderful flavors - I am gushing, I know, but I think this place really deserves an extreme rec! Spring rolls were best I have ever tasted, the papaya salad was just amazing, I had a yellow vegetable curry and my other had duck curry which he raved about. I had to try a dessert, there was Spaghetti and Meatballs - which was really rich very vanilla ice cream extruded out to look like a plate of pasta with a delicious strawberry sauce and 2 chocolate truffles (meatballs) - sounds silly but was so creative and really delicious. I wish this restaurant the best success. You can taste and see her love and passion for her cooking. The decor is very euro/simple and pleasant and the waiter was charming and helpful.
Living in the general vicinity of The Terrace, I frequently drive past this place and have watched its painfully slow construction for the past couple of years. I think their biggest problem is going to be "spreading the word," as I think that most who have driven past it think that it was never going to open. Even now, with the stellar reviews (both here and in the New Haven newspaper), I have seldom seen more than one or two tables occupied. It would be my sense that no matter how good the food is, unless they can grow their business fairly rapidly, their stint might be very brief. That being said, we plan on trying it soon (hopefully, not as a one-shot deal!).
Well, I can't vouch for the food, because I haven't eaten there yet, but I walked in and tried to order takeout tonight and couldn't because they were too busy. Every table except one was full. I did take a menu and it does look very good. Was disappointed because I really wanted Thai (and I don't like Shaliga which is around the corner from my house), but I will definitely be back (was also impressed with the decor). I think you're right that "spreading the word" will be key, but Hamden could certainly use a good Thai restaurant. Hopefully how full it was tonight is a sign of things to come (and hoepfully when I actually end up eating there the food will live up to my hopes).
Yes, it is. And to follow up my last post, I went back and ordered takeout Saturday night and was not disappointed. Didn't order anything too extravagant (Drunken noodles, pineapple fried rice with chicken and chicken satay). Drunken noodles and pineapple fried rice were very good. Both tasted very fresh and homemade. Anyway, it will definitely be added to my list of go-to takeout places (I have two yound kids, so I'm into takeout these days). I'd like to try one of the curries next time.
Try Thai Awesome a few doors south on Dixwell-better food,lower prices. The atmosphere sucks, but then again, thats not why you came...
I've eaten here numerous times and never had a miss.
Everything is made to order-special requests are never turned down.
Soups are excellent-always a good indicator of a healthy kitchen.
The owner Kim is a local ( has a cart on Cedar St too) who is usually onsite and eager to please.
Best Pad Thai in the area, imho.
For drunken noodles-try ground chicken-they are spiced just right-hot but not too much...lots of egg,onion and basil...
Summer rolls are fresh with crisp lettuce, basil shrimp and noodles-rolled tight- only 3.95.
Whole Chili Fish is a steal at $12.95.
Grab it before the price goes up.
Went back again.....
Got takeout this time and to say we were disappointed is an understatement. Don't know if they are uneven or what. But my original post stands with great reservation.
Based on great reviews, last night I went to The Terrace with friends. First of all, the decor is far from "European" as described in other reviews. You enter right in to the seating area which is basically a white pallette with glass topped tables that are sprayed down after each use. I joined my friend already seated at our table and immediately realized the noise level is very high and conversation would not be easy with a full dining room. A waiter took our drink order and ten or fifteen minutes later our wine was served. I was willing to overlook this initial negative vibe for what I read was extraordinary food. The Spring Rolls (elaborately presented) were small, forgettable and extremely dry. We asked for additional sauce and the waitress brought us out the smallest glass containing no more than 2 tablespoons of sauce. The Furry Prawns were quite good but again no sauce for dipping. Our entrees were good but the portions extremely small and the rice bowl placed on our table to serve three was a serving for one. The waitress reminded us the chef was a previous pastry chef and so we ordered two desserts. The sticky rice with mango was uninspired - very dry. And again, the portions, were kid size - mind you I am a petite woman who hates supersized meals but the portions here are small. But the bill, with tip, came to $50 each! I suggest going to The Rice Pot on State Street in New Haven. The food is the best Thai I've had in this area, the ambiance is great, and it is so affordable.
I have read the Terrace reviews with a great deal of interest. Seldom do you see such contrary opinions to the extent that they have been posted here.
I recently ran into a friend who is in the food business and is a distinctly qualified "foodie." He and his wife have eaten at the Terrace twice - first for dinner then for lunch. They absolutely loved the food, but said that the prices were really quite astronomical for what was received. What they thought was a rather straightforward dinner (which, again, they really liked) was over $100 with no liquor. A simple lunch was $40+. While these kinds of prices might be the norm for some of downtown New Haven's upscale restaurants, it is very hard to justify the pricing for a Thai restaurant in a rather dreary area of Hamden.
I drive by The Terrace several times a week and there seldom seems to be more than a handful of diners at any given time. It seems clear that unless they bring their prices and servings in line with some of the other finer Thai restaurants in the area (Cordon Bleu training notwithstanding), they will have a very difficult time remaining open.
To comment a bit further, we have eaten at Thai Awesome and while we thought it was good, there were definitely no "sparks." That being said, the prices were very, very moderate and we would definitely go back for a quick, informal meal. As of now, our favorite New Haven Thai remains the Rice Pot.