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Jul 19, 2008 06:59 PM

The Golden Buddha--great Thai in Romeo, Michigan

Tried a hidden gem last weekend while antiquing in Romeo, Michigan, a far-northern suburb of Detroit (if it can even be called a suburb). Nestled in a sterile-looking strip mall featuring a Salvation Army as its anchor, the restaurant was a welcome sight in a town that features mostly diner-type cuisine that doesn't really suit my taste.

My dining companion had the eggplant stir-fry, and I had the Pad Prik. I ordered it hot, my previous experience at small-town ethnic cuisine having taught me that things are usually quite a bit milder than ethnic spots in more urban areas. I was wrong! My food was VERY hot, but aside from that, it was prepared very well. We got vegetarian spring rolls (these are fried--for the rice-paper wrapped lettuce variety, order "fresh" rolls)--they were obviously homemade and freshly deep fried.

We returned this week, though it is almost 30 minutes from Rochester. This time, there were three of us. We ordered fresh rolls as an appetizer. These are two to an order, but are HUGE and sliced so they are easy to share. Very glad that we didn't order two orders! The dipping sauce was fine, but I could have wished for a more peanutty or vinegary was a bit too honey-centric for my tastes, though my companions seemed happy with it.

For the main course, I had the stir-fried eggplant. At medium plus for spice, it was not quite hot enough (despite the fact that the previous week's hot Pad Prik was FAR too hot!). One of my companions had the Tom Yum soup, which I sampled and which we both agreed was excellent--definitely the best in the area. My other companion had the panang curry, which was delicious.

Overall, this is a very good Thai restaurant--definitely worth a visit, and a surprising find in the small town of Romeo (I think it is technically located in Bruce Twp). Give it a try!

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  1. IG thanks for the tip. I will have to try that.

    1. I've been eating at this restaurant for the better part of a year now. Great food and very spicy. I would recommend veering away from the Pad Seeyu. It's good, but not as good as I've had at other Thai restaurants. The bests are the Pad Pak and the Pad Thai.

      1. I've eaten in Thai restaurants all over the country -- from San Francisco to Manhattan, and I agree -- this little gem outside of Romeo is well worth a visit. Like most asian restaurants, this a family owned establish with everyone pitching in and performing multiple tasks, from hostess to cook, from server to cashier. The service, quality of food, and warmth with which every person is greeted and attended to is consistantly outstanding. But as much as it's the same, there is also something very different about this restaurant, and I think that uniquenss comes from its location in a sleepy little town; a throwback to a better, more congenial time.

        A few months ago, my husband and I stopped in the Golden Buddha for dinner. We'd been there several times before, but this particular night, there was something unusual going on. Evidently, one of the wait staff unexpectedly didn't show, and another was home attending to a sick relative, so the restaurant was operating with a skeleton crew and not able to serve people with their usual efficiency. Customers were looking around, tapping their fingers and sort of wondering if they should stick around or leave. And that's when something amazing happened.

        Without any prompting, a family sitting next to us decided to pitch-in and help. All four of them got up and began going from table to table, taking orders and serving food. They were going back into the kitchen, re-filling beverages, clearing tables, and seating people. And as they did this, the whole place took on an upbeat, festive atmosphere. Customers were laughing, talking, and joking about where or not these "volunteer" non-family employees were expecting a tip or not (they weren't). It was amazing. But the most amazing thing was the way the restaurant owners welcomed this spontaneous outpouring of help. The gratitude on their faces was worth every penny we spent and I'll never forget it. Neighbors helping neighbors, even when they barely spoke the same language. As my husband and I said: only in a small town would you see such a thing. Romeo -- what a great place to live.

        2 Replies
        1. re: echohill

          Thanks for sharing your anecdote, echohill. What a great serendipitous moment!

          1. re: echohill

            I live very near this place. I can't say I think it's a good thing that the customers just spontaneously start working because the service is non-existant.
            The last thing I want is people off the street just walking in the kitchen and serving food. What owner with any pride would even allow this?
            As far as the food here goes some one once said if you don't have any thing good to say then say nothing at all.
            So that's exactly what I'm going to say about the food here.
            Nothing at all.