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SUKHO THAI - what's going on?

is it just me or is it almost impossible to order from Sukho Thai these days. For the last two months, they either don't answer their phone or you can order but you have to pick it up whenever they say, not when you want to order it. Prior to that the food quality started to really vary so it was touch and go if it would be good that night or not. Has the cooking staff entirely changed now that Nuit is at KSR?

Is KSR the place to get the good stuff now? I haven't tried pick up from KSR but eating inhouse is just such an erratic experience, and I rarely want a meal to last that long on a weeknight.

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  1. think of it this way, if it lasts longer it is cheaper by the hour!

    1. what is KSR?

      I kind of agree that the quality varies at Sukhothai lately. It tastes different. I think maybe they have fallen into the trap of overexpanding a successful business, at the detriment to the quality of the food that made them popular in the first place.

      -----
      Sukhothai
      274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

      4 Replies
      1. re: wooby

        Khao San Road. Which is not an expansion of Sukhothai, it is a new venture entirely. Nuit and Jeff no longer work at Sukho, so that may explain why things are different.

        1. re: Wahooty

          I see. thanks, Wahooty. we may be arguing semantics here, as I seem to recognize Jeff's parents(?) are running things at Sukhothai now. so there is still a connection between the two restaurants.

          don't get me wrong, Sukho is still VERY good (probably the best Thai in the city), but it is not quite the same as before, is all I'm saying. I'll have to check out KSR to compare.

          1. re: wooby

            there is a familial connection via their respective ownership but it is irrelevant to the operation of either restaurant currently. they are separate businesses with separate cooks. so one can get into the semantics but it has no bearing on her statements.

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              But are the recipes used at Sukothai not the ones developed and left by Nuit, or did she tell Jeff's parents to toss them out and start from ground zero? Of course there is a connection other than that they are family.

      2. funny that you just posted this.
        i went to Sukhothai yesterday for the first time. i wish i hadn't put it off.

        at 1 PM it was empty. phone rang once and they picked it up immediately.
        we ordered 3 dishes - Khao Soi, Pad Thai and green curry.

        Soup was excellent. i could order that and not eat anything else.
        Pad Thai was very good for pad thai. it was more complex flavourwise that other pad thais.
        Curry: i really enjoyed the lime undertones and lightness to the curry. it was a little to watery for my liking, but it still was a really nice take on curry.

        I wouldn't say anything negative about the food quality. it was quite good.

        -----
        Sukhothai
        274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

        1. I went to Sukothai last night around 7:30pm and was seated downstairs in the basement with my significant other. It was quite busy since it was a Friday night. Also, I have frequented this place when it first opened under Nuit and Jeff.

          We ordered the Tom Khai Gai as a starter and the Khao Soi and the Sukothai Pad Thai as our main courses, the quality and value is more or less the same as before. I say this because when Nuit would cook the dishes in the past, they were perfect but sometimes she wouldn't get to the restaurant until 7pm because of other obligations.

          The reason why I'm posting is the service is getting more atrocious each time, I went a bout a month ago and the filipino lady serving us was definitely overwhelmed and you could tell she really didn't have much experience as a waitress but she had good intentions. Now they have hired two males part-time who both have British accents to accomodate the large volume of business. The food took quite a long time to come but that's not unexpected especially when it's busy at Sukothai but what had me quite irritated was that we were pouring our own ice water since no waiter or waitress decided to visit the room downstairs for a legitimate 25 -30 minutes.

          25- 30 minutes ( not exaggerating) is quite a long time to not have your server check up on you especially for a place of that size and the additional of two wait staff. Ideally two servers should be looking after upstairs and since it's quite small and one should be looking after downstairs.

          I'm not sure whether this is something that occurs quite often when you are seated in the basement.

          8 Replies
          1. re: DVT78

            I can't help but wonder how much a server makes in places like Sukhothai. Since the cheque average is about $15 per person and assuming they keep all the tips and don't share with the kitchen, each server would have to do 50 customers to make a little over a $100. Can't be too much fun.
            I agree 3 people should be able to handle that space, but maybe running up and down those steps to fill up your water glass isn't worth the extra dollar you might leave.

            -----
            Sukhothai
            274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

            1. re: DVT78

              Eh.
              I was there last week. Again, I admit that I'm relatively new to Sukhothai, but I was fine with the level of service.
              Its not fine dining. That's quite apparent when you walk in the door.
              I wanted more water, so I went and asked for it. I didn't care. After eating what I ate, getting up and walking for water or for the bill is the least I can do.
              Staff was nice and pleasant, food was great. I cut them slack

              -----
              Sukhothai Restaurant
              11 4th St E, Cornwall, ON K6H2H7, CA

              1. re: atomeyes

                There is a level of disconnect between Asians' expectations of service and N. Americans. N. Americans grew up going to restaurants for "special occasions". Even if the expectation is toned down as they become adults, eating is still a social event where friends meet to catch up on conversation, etc....they expect a level of service that isn't "brusk".

                Whereas Asians, well not the bananas, just want to eat. They're hungry, they want to get their food, they eat, they gtfo. Their expectation of service is lower, especially given the price point. It's just a different culture, which is def lost in translation at times.

                That doesn't excuse 30 mins of lack of service. The difference is that I would've walked upstairs and got water myself instead of simmering at the table getting more pissed. Again, different expectations.

                1. re: aser

                  It's tempting to rip into this post for the assumptions made. I don't doubt that there are cultural differences but I don't believe it's only Asians that eat in restaurants to just eat and I'm sure I could find exceptions to this generalization about Asians. Maybe I'm wrong on this one, but I also doubt many people to go Sukhothai for a special occassion. Anyway, my real question is what are bananas?

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                  Sukhothai
                  274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                  1. re: dubchild

                    Banana refers to someone Asian, probably Western born, who has the habits and customs of Caucasians. i.e. yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

                    Btw my lunch at Sukothai last week was as good as it's always been, with the service just fine considering it was full.

                    -----
                    Sukothai Restaurant
                    3115 Winston Churchill Blvd, Mississauga, ON L5L2W1, CA

                    1. re: lightbulb

                      I've eaten at Sukhothai a few times since the split and honestly, I found the service had improved.

                      -----
                      Sukhothai
                      274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                    2. re: dubchild

                      It's not meant to be an absolute, it's just a generalization. There are always exceptions in life.

                    3. re: aser

                      when i go to eat any Asian food (thai, chinese, sushi, vietnamese, etc), I've learned that North American taboos don't really exist.
                      you want something, you waive your arms in the air to flag your server down. its encouraged
                      that's just 1 example.

                2. Things have certainly not gotten any better. Everytime we try to order, either they dont pick up or theres no driver to make deliveries.

                  We had given up on their deliveries, but I tried to order for pickup and they told me you arent allowed to order pickup before 5pm!

                  Then they told me they were closed when clearly they werent (or shouldnt have been, according to the hours on their answering machine).

                  So thats it, Im done with Sukho.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: jmeggs

                    We called for a reservation this evening. My wife is disabled and can't stand around for a long time. They told us they no longer took reservations on the weekends. My wife explained her predicament but they wouldn't budge.

                    When we got there, there were 2 tables with reservation signs on them. The service was typically indifferent and slow (how 3 or 4 servers can't keep up with 8 or 10 tables, I'll never understand) , the food was very good, but the incident left a bad taste in our mouths.

                    1. re: hal2010

                      I find that behaviour deplorable. However, it may be the first time it's come up for them. I would suggest calling the owners and giving them some advice. If they don't take it, they don't deserve your business.

                      1. re: hal2010

                        Did anyone ever take those reserved tables? Because I'm sure some places use them as crowd control - ie/ to keep smaller groups from sitting at tables for 6, or just to keep the capacity down when they know they can't handle a full house. Still an unpleasant experience I'm sure.

                        1. re: julesrules

                          Agree with this. Also, did you ask what the signs were doing there when they told you they didn't accept reservation? When you say their service was "typically indifferent and slow" this implies you've been they before and have accepted it by going back. Sometimes the best incentive for them to change is if customers stop coming, but it doesn't seem like this is happening if you keep going back.

                          1. re: syoung

                            We'll bring it up next time we call. We mentioned it to a waitress but she just gave us her best "deer in the headlights" impression and moved on. It looked like they were jockeying tables to accommodate a group of 8 in the back, and a group of 3 was shown to the reserved table in front of us.

                            We've been 10 times or more. We put up with the inconsistent service because the food is very good. Some nights the service is fine, especially when the owner is there. Last night it didn't seem like anyone was managing the place.

                            1. re: hal2010

                              I have to say I'm very frustrated by the service at sukho thai. The food is pretty good, and it's close to home so I have eaten there lots - probably over 20 times. But every single time I go, or call to order it feels like it's the first night they are running a restaurant. Mass confusion. Some examples:
                              - Not answering their phone for pick up or delivery orders
                              - Picking up their phone on sundays when they are closed. I always forget they are closed and try to call for pick up. The one time that they do answer.
                              - Eating in, the sevice is slow and confused.
                              - Large numbers of staff bumping in to each other, but nothing seems to get done quickly.
                              - When placing an order on the phone (when I get through) it's like it's the first time the person has taken an order. Confusion, inconsistent. I've had to remind tem to take down my address for delivery.

                              I will probably keep going back because the food is good - but each time I vow to myself it's the last time dealing with the hassles!

                    2. Agree with comments about the service. Went there for dinner on Friday night. It was a bit after the dinner rush. The restaurant was full, but there seemed to be more than enough servers to cover the tables.

                      The biggest issue was that the food took a really long time to come out of the kitchen. I would estimate that it was probably a good 25 minutes before we got our first dish. But, that was only 1/3 of our order. The other two dishes didn't arrive for another 10 to 15 minutes.

                      I thought that getting all the dishes out at the same time was one of the cardinal rules of restaurant service.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: ManAbout

                        maybe for a "white" restaurant, but for asian/ethnic restaurants, it's pretty common place to have food coming out the kitchen in whatever order it's done.

                        It doesn't excuse the poor/slow service, but again, the food coming out at different times is pretty common for Asian restaurants. Just temper your expectations, especially at a place where nothing is over $10.

                        1. re: aser

                          Early afternoon (first opening) delivery is still good. You may have to call a few times to get through, but it is prompt and order is always exactly right.

                          No where near as tasty as Khao San Road, but still better than most thai.

                          -----
                          Khao San Road
                          326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

                          1. re: smudgebee

                            Um no. Not always right and quick even if you DO order early in their day.

                            1. re: Googs

                              Really? That is bizarre, we have literally ordered it every week since around March (addicts maybe?) and never had a single order messed up. Maybe I have very good luck. Sorry to hear my method does not work for everyone :(

                              1. re: smudgebee

                                So they waited until I moved out of the area. Nice! That trick never worked for me.

                                1. re: Googs

                                  Yup, I ordered it again today! Eating it right now and it is totally right. One thing I will say is the quality varies, this time it is as good as Khao San Road, last time not nearly as good.

                                  -----
                                  Khao San Road
                                  326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

                                  1. re: smudgebee

                                    I've been to both KSR and Sukhothai a few times now and I definitely prefer Sukhothai. I like how the Panang curry comes with veggies at Sukhothai. KSR's is just the protein with sauce. And they don't offer my favourite dish at KSR - the Pad Khee Mao...well at least it's not on the menu. Portions are definitely bigger at Sukhothai.

                                    1. re: MellyMelle

                                      yeah, I have recommended both places to four different friends independently and all have preferred the food quality at sukhothai than ksr.

                                      1. re: szw

                                        It's strange, isn't it, considering the genius behind the food is at KSR!

                              2. re: Googs

                                I agree with the above comment. I've pretty much given up ordering from them as trying to get through has been crazy. I love their thai and my husband loves them compared to Mengrai but it just isn't worth it. The last time I called and got through they said the wait time was going to be 1.5 hours. I was fine with it but they were really surprised and said it could be closer to 2. I'm glad other people have had more luck. Actually I'm just jealous. I miss sukho thai!

                                -----
                                Mengrai
                                82 Ontario Street, Toronto, ON M5A 2V3, CA

                                1. re: foodiefiend

                                  I am going to try to order from Sukothai tomorrow. (first time) I have read through the forum about their poor service etc. Any advice on what time to order/pick-up or delivery. Easier to go there and order for pick-up?

                                  1. re: MargieEv

                                    How close by do you live? Ideally, I would call in the order for pick-up and then call just before I'm leaving the house to check that it's almost ready. We ordered for pick-up once, they gave us a time, we arrived a few minutes late (just to be sure it would be ready) and had to wait a half hour.

                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                      Thanks. I live at Sherbourne and Wellesley so quite close. Perhaps I'll call the order in around 5 and hopefully it will be ready by 6:30ish. Good tip on calling to see if it's almost ready.

                        2. My husband and I volunteer around the corner from Sukhothai once a month, and often stop by there for dinner after. Last time, we were sitting upstairs, and it took a *really* long time. To make matters worse, my husband's meal came almost half an hour before mine. I know things don't always come out of the kitchen at exactly the same time, but that's ridiculous. Same with the water - we were upstairs, so I just filled our water myself.

                          The previous time, I couldn't get someone to bring us the bill. Finally I went and stood at the counter to pay. They just ignored me. Took three other people's money before mine, when I was clearly standing right in front of them. *Very* frustrating.

                          Last week, we had planned to place a take-out order instead, to have it ready for when we were finished. It sounds like that kind of timing isn't going to work for us either. It's a shame. The food is good.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: looz

                            called in our order at 5 pm. Told it would be here at 6:45, arrived at 6:10. Pad Thai, beef curry, and spring rolls. Ok, but not memorable. Also lukewarm at best.

                            1. re: MargieEv

                              I'm just wondering, are all the Sukothai's owned by the same person/group?

                              1. re: normanwolf

                                There is only one Sukhothai. The couple that used to run it (Chef Nuit in the kitchen and her husband Jeff out front) left and opened Khao San Road. Different restaurants, though obviously many of Nuit's recipes stayed behind at Sukhothai.

                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                  Actually, there is another Sukho Thai out in Mississauga. But it is completely unrelated to the one on Parliament.

                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                    Doh. Thanks. Didn't realize there was another Sukhothai. I shall step down from my little soapbox now...

                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                      Thanks, I was wondering about the Mississauga location. Ate there a couple weekends ago, and while acceptable I wasn't convinced the food was the same as what's discussed on this board. The place is also not busy....maybe because they just relocated from Oakville?

                            2. I work fairly close by, and have long wanted to try this restaurant. Is it the kind of place you can safely be in and out in 45 minutes over your lunch hour?? Or is it safer to do take-out?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: rstuart

                                No and takeout isn't any quicker.

                                1. re: iMarilyn

                                  Good to know! Guess that I will try it for dinner after work someday..