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Aug 2, 2011 12:03 PM

Thai North in Brighton

A few weeks back I mentioned I met the owners of a new Thai restaurant specializing in Chiang Mai area food.
Has anyone tried it?
433 Faneuil St, Brighton, MA02135


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  1. Unfortunately it looks like it might be "secret Thai menu" time

    19 Replies
    1. re: Luther

      Finally, a gaeng hung-lay in town !

      1. re: Luther

        I used to live a block away from this location. The menu looks meh and Yelp comments are "the pad thai is wonderful" kind.

        1. re: Luther

          Surely Luther has decoded the Lanna luxuries on the menu by now, of which there are several, and I hope he and others share their experiences because my first meal here today was very promising.

          I woke up with a hankering for laab khua and called Thai North to see if their online menu is a shvindel or what. The woman said she was fresh out of all the offal-y bits but next time I should call a day in advance. They’re from rural Chiang Mai, a small mountainside farmtown a few hours outside of Chiang Mai the city, and I’m told that, aside from a few local yokels ordering off the English (online) menu, it’s mostly Chiang Mai expats who comprise their clientele. There is a chalkboard with their Northern specialties which I’ve attempted to translate below.

          Kaeng hangleh, classic Northern curry with Burmese origins, had less body than I’m accustomed to (altho thin is typical up north), was slightly on the sweet side of the spectrum, but is a complex, aromatic and delicious curry quite unlike most other curries in the Thai repertoire. I’d asked for pork and received belly hunks along with big slabs of porkfat.

          Kaeng ho, was kind of redundant, as I’m told it’s what is usually made the day after a dinner of kaeng hangleh, stir-frying the curry with vegetables, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, chilies and glass noodles. Regardless, it’s a tasty dish, particularly enhanced by the condiment caddy.

          Nam prik ong, aka Thai bolognese, was fire-engine red, oily but bright with sharp chili notes and tangy tomatoes. Served with raw veggie crudite, fried pork rinds and sticky rice.

          Sai ua, Northern sausage, looked a little wan on first glance but turned out to be far more fiery than any other version I’ve had in town. The spicing was terrific to my tastes, only quibble was it could’ve used a bit more fat and juice. Again, served with requisite ginger matchstix, birdy chiles, lettuce and their excellent sticky rice.

          Dtam makhya was maybe my favourite dip o’ the day – a smoky roasty eggplant and chile dip made usually with bplaa raa (rotten fish condiment like prahok), this was a George Clinton-ized baba ganoush that goes great with the crunch of a crispy pork rind.

          The chalkboard menu is comprised of some tantalizing Thai classics of the Chiang Mai region. Here’s my attempt at translation, somebody please help out:

          1. Kaeng ho – pork curry stir-fry with vegetables and glass noodles
          2. Kaeng khanoon – jackfruit curry
          3. Tom khanoon – jackfruit soup
          4. Nam prik noom – pounded green chili dip
          5. Nam prik ong – tomato-based ground meat dip
          6. Khanom jeen (???) – rice vermicelli dish with meatsauce
          7. Kaeng kua gai – Thai chicken curry
          8. Khao soi – Chiang Mai chicken noodle curry
          9. Moo ping – grilled Puerco
          10. Dtam makhya – pounded roasted eggplant/chile dip
          11. Laab neua – Northern-style beef laap salad
          12. Kaeng ??? –
          13. Kaeng om – a Northern-style deep meat curry, usually beef with beef offal
          14. Kaeng hangleh – Northern-style (Burmese) meat curry
          15. Kaeng ??? -

          1. re: Nab

            thank you Nab for the report and translation. I'm going to go and see how I fare ordering as an ignorant "outsider.." Sounds different in style and spice than my favorite S & I.

            1. re: teezeetoo

              I really do hope you check it out teezeetoo.

              As always, standard guidelines apply here too - ie, throw in a wai upon entering, order from the Thai menu, order the Thai name of the dish, ask for Thai style and Thai spicy, ask for the condiments, tell them you married into a Thai family, you worked on a farm in Chiang Mai, etc etc etc.

              1. re: Nab

                Just had the best Khao Soi this side of the Rose of the North. Went straight to the kitchen and my "baby-Thai" talk was excepted in the spirit of fun that characterizes the Kon Thai. These folks as it turns out are from near Chiang Rai which is due north of Chiang Mai at the top of the ancient Lanna Kingdom where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet on the Mehkong; the Golden Triangle. Nab gets it right again here; the real deal is on the chalkboard. Two hungry Thaiophiles ate way too much lunch and took most home although the check was small. (i had to check their math). The Khao Soi was indeed proper and the pickled condiments and chili relish were clear notes in this taste of Notthern Thai. Sao Oua was fresh and warm but a bit nuetral without the nOse to tail bits. Got the gaeng lay, Nam Prik, and Larb which was missing the offal and blood yet still a la minute good and redolent of lemongrass and coriander seed. Sadly no beer, no Lao Khao, no green Fanta. Our server Khun Shre explained that the mangoes were not ready for mango sticky rice although the Khao Niao had flecks of purple glutinous grains in the traditional woven cylinders and some dishes like popia tod and tod man were served on miniature kantoke tables. Fun; Sanook!

                1. re: EATTV

                  Northern cuisine being a meaty offal-y kind of fare, I am inclined to give them a call a day or say in advance and order laap khua and gaeng om and such and have them prepare it the wai they do at home. After revisiting the sai oua today, I found the texture to be a bit meatloafy, though the spice blend is good, still needs some kibbles and bits. Glad to hear the khao soi was a winner. Let's comb thru the rest of the menu !

            2. re: Nab

              Okay, prompted by this thread I did a quick lunch there today with Mrs. Stripey.

              We had the Kaeng Hangleh, the Dtam makhya Eggplant Dish, and the Tofu veggie dish from the regular menu.

              Quite honestly the food was superb.

              In my case the Kaeng Hangleh was one of the richest, most succulent dishes I have had this entire year. The chef said it had been simmering for 2+ hours. Meaty rich pork belly in a complex, terribly rich sauce. Mrs. stripes was as blown away as I was.

              The eggplant was fiery and excellent; and the veg tofu dish a wonderful surprise. Delicate, tasty, and chow worthy in it's own right.

              Now on the permanent rotation, and if these dishes are any indication, a strong contender for best Thai in Boston.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                wow. many of my favorite hounds love a place that I used to live 100 yards from. After many year, Oak Square has become a chow destination. I will have to try this soon.

                1. re: gourmaniac

                  I did make it here dining solo before a squad of chowhounds entered. I really liked the Khao Soi, good complex broth with pickled veggies and a building heat that didn't overwhelm the other spicing. Golden bags is an appetizer on the main menu that is just OK. corn and minced chicken wrapped in a wonton wrapper and deep fried. The long closed Swadasee used to have my paragon for this dish. Can't wait to try this place in my old neighborhood again.

                  1. re: gourmaniac

                    Delightful to run into you on that blustery, cold night, and you so generously shared the GB's w/the 1st two of us to arrive. We'll definitely order Khao Soi, that you loved, the next time.

                    1. re: gourmaniac

                      Re: Sawasdee, we used to take our baby there - she's now grown and lives in another state - and the owner would take her from us and play with her while we ate. One time, he bounced her on his knee while he paid bills. He also told me Thai eggplant costs too much for me to waste, so I ate it.

                  2. re: StriperGuy

                    Excellent !

                    "Meaty rich pork belly in a complex, terribly rich sauce."

                    Wait till ya pull that curry out of the fridge the next day - yowsas !

                    1. re: Nab

                      What, you are not a fan of 2 inches of congealed fat?

                    2. re: StriperGuy

                      I ordered way too much for 2 but the Gaeng Hanglae was even better the next day. Let's go back and delve.. Aharn aroi!

                    3. re: Nab

                      Wow, I had pretty much forgotten about this post (and the restaurant, which I never attempted to go eat at). Thanks! Now when can I PayPal you to publish a full printed Thai-next-to-English just-point-to-order menu?

                      1. re: Nab

                        number 12 is soup with some type of green vegetable (bitter melon?) and number 15 is bamboo shoot soup

                        1. re: galangatron

                          thanks GT ! what have you enjoyed on their menu so far ?

                          also, I'm pretty sure now that #6 is NOT khanom jeen (vermicelli noodle) of any kind.

                          1. re: Nab

                            number 6 is nam prik ong. number 8 is khanom jeen

                    4. I hope they get local support. I know the area and not there aren't many reasons to drive there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: libertywharf

                        Did a search - the #57 bus goes right by (Kenmore-Watertown). Easy access for me! :D Can't wait to try it!!

                      2. Just sitting here snacking on the leftover Dtam makhya (smoky charred eggplant dip) and thought I'd post a couple of pictures. Can't add much to the descriptions above, but I tried the Khao Soi too and found their version to be very good indeed, if a little bit sweet. I especially liked that they used bone-in chicken and that the broth had a really nice slow-building fire in with all that coconut creaminess. Khao Soi was served with a chili paste for stirring in to zip things up. I didn't catch the name of that one but it is so toasted as to be almost black.

                        Very promising first visit. They have EXCELLENT sticky rice too. The sweet lady suggested I try a Chiang Mai style curry next visit and I do believe I will.

                        (Khao Soi, Dtam makhya, and crummy one of the mystery chili paste -- name please?)

                        1. Just finished lunch at Thai North - I tried the khao soi, and it was excellent. Portion was really huge - flat noodles in the soup along with bean sprouts and pickled vegetable, topped with lots of crispy noodles, and one bone-in leg of chicken. The chicken was fall-off-the bone tender, and my main complaint is that there was only one piece! I would have liked more, since the chicken meat was really flavorful. The broth was spicy (already close to my limit, so I couldn't really add any of the dark chili paste). I did not find the broth to be sweet, just a mild coconut flavor which was to be expected.

                          I am pretty excited to go back here soon and try the rest of the Thai menu. Also, very excited in general to know about this place! Thanks hounds!

                          1. We tried this place last weekend. The Kao Soi was wonderful, but the other two dishes, Nam Prik Ong and Gaeng Hung Le, were VERY sweet.