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Muang Thai Red Bank

seal Apr 12, 2013 04:23 PM

Went for lunch and found they are in a soft opening until the big grand opening/Thai new year celebration this weekend. I enjoyed my bowl of Tom Kha Gai very much and am looking forward to trying a full meal this Sunday.
Since Red Bank is also having a street fair this Sunday, it sounds like a nice day to be there. The owner also told me that they have a garden in the back that they will open. I miss Bienvenue, but wish Muang Thai well in their old space.

  1. equal_Mark Apr 13, 2013 11:09 AM

    Website: http://www.muangthaiusa.com/

    Was looking at the menu online and was curious about the "Vegetarian Duck Entrees"

    Is this an aspect of Thai cuisine I had been unaware of? Do they have a tradition of raising ducks with a vegetarian lifestyle to be used as an ingredient in their cooking. Are these Vegan ducks or some looser understanding of their regular diet?

    5 Replies
    1. re: equal_Mark
      h
      hcentro Apr 13, 2013 03:50 PM

      I've heard some of the Vegan ducks won't even wear clothes made from animal products. They don't mind paying some extra bills for faux leather etc.

      1. re: equal_Mark
        seal Apr 13, 2013 03:51 PM

        I almost forgot how funny you are =M! We need to hang out again soon.

        Vegetarian duck is just duck flavored textured vegetable protein, but I get the feeling you already know that ;o)

        1. re: seal
          equal_Mark Apr 13, 2013 07:22 PM

          Not gonna get in to Vegan duck head... Oops! Never mind. ;-)

        2. re: equal_Mark
          m
          maditudinal Apr 14, 2013 06:53 AM

          Pretty sure it's wheat gluten (similar to seitan) flavored with soy sauce/MSG. It's called vegetarian duck because the surface texture resembles a plucked duck. Popular in vegetarian Chinese cuisine.

          1. re: maditudinal
            seal Oct 2, 2013 01:44 PM

            Too funny about ducks with vegan lifestyles ;o)

            I've been back to eat here since my first post and I found the food decent, but not great. I still think the best thing they make is the Tom Kha Gai soup. We had a few curries last time and one dish with sweet chili sauce that we liked as well.

        3. corvette johnny Apr 16, 2013 08:00 AM

          I will definitely get over to check this place out. The pricing looks a little lower than Siam which is a plus.

          1 Reply
          1. re: corvette johnny
            MGZ Apr 16, 2013 08:09 AM

            I had lunch there yesterday. Not bad. They were willing to give me a spicy version of "drunken noodles". It was lip sweat spicy, not brow sweat or nose runnin' spicy. They appear to use only dried red chiles to add heat. Personally, I prefer incorporating fresh green and red bird chiles, as well as the dried, in my Thai dishes when I cook at home. That's the way they do it at Lers Ros in SF and I've never had Thai food that good, so I adopted the approach.

            The ten dollar lunch special is a good value. I'd give it a B to B-, at this point, but, in fairness one visit is not enough to properly judge. I do think it's better than the place in the Galleria.

          2. corvette johnny Apr 23, 2013 06:09 AM

            I ate there last night with my wife. It was pretty good. I definitely will be back to try a few more dishes.

            Tom Ka Gai and Tom Yum Gai were spot on. My wife had the yellow curry dish which had some great flavor but a little on the smaller side I would say. I had the "king" which came with 2 skewers each of beef, chicken and shrimp satay. Shrimp were real dry but the beef and chicken were very good. The side of peanut sauce was real tasty.

            Next time I think I will opt for some chicken satay as an appetizer. " The King" came with a load of fried rice too....quite a large helping.

            The pricing is fair for red bank, lower than Siam. Anyway, with such a huge menu, I would recommend stopping by to try a dish or two.

            1. l
              legallink Apr 30, 2013 06:33 AM

              My family ate there last night....and it got a thumbs up from me. We had the Tom Kha Gai, Chicken Satay, Pad Thai, and a vegetarian red curry.

              The Tom Kha Gai was fairly mild (we got it mild, my wife is not thrilled with spicy), heavy on the coconut milk, but on the whole good. The flavors weren't as complex as they could be, but definitely acceptable. The pieces of lemon grass were on the large side, and I don't really like to chew on them, so that was a bit annoying, but sadly fairly common in newer thai restaurants.

              The Chicken Satay was decent. I'm not sure why, but since I lived in Australia, I have become addicted to places that quasi roast/bake the chicken in the satay sauce.....and this place the chicken was nice, and the satay sauce was also quite good. Light on the peanut and coconut, but decent texture and flavor. Definitely acceptable.

              The red curry was spicy, and I loved it. Took me a moment to adjust to it, but it hit the spot. I got the vegetarian/fried tofu, and was thrilled that they loaded up on the veggies. The sauce was good, had that familiar red curry flavor, but again not as complex a flavor as it could have had. Missing I think some of the balance of the oyster/fish sauce.

              My wife's pad thai, was very mild. Not overly complex, but she liked it. I like a bit more going on with the fish sauce in Pad Thai than she does, so it fit her palate, but for me it could have been better.

              They gave us some free fried banana spring rolls for dessert, and those were tasty...mostly cause I love bananas, fresh, fried, flambeed, whatever.

              Decor comes off a bit almost Indian in the place instead of Thai, but that is probably because it has vestages of Bienvenue in there.

              On the whole, I liked it. Definitely acceptable, and if they have delivery, which I think they are going to, it is going to be a no brainer for us. Compared to Siam Garden, Siam wins on presentation, but I like smaller more intimate and would choose Muang over Siam. I think that the Siam flavors are a bit too americanized....but still good.

              I thought portion sizes were decent....I didn't get the opinion that they were small....but compared to NYC, all portion sizes down here are huge.

              2 Replies
              1. re: legallink
                MGZ Apr 30, 2013 07:00 AM

                "Decor comes off a bit almost Indian in the place instead of Thai, but that is probably because it has vestages of Bienvenue in there."

                There are so many bad paint spots on the walls that it is actually funny to look at. I coulda painted the walls better if I was blindfolded. Nonetheless, I'm lookin' forward to going back at some point.

                1. re: MGZ
                  l
                  legallink Apr 30, 2013 07:02 AM

                  I thought bad paint spots was a bit of the charm! :)

              2. l
                livingloving May 2, 2013 08:52 PM

                Went last night and liked it. Had spring rolls and beef and onion pastry rolls. Forget the name also we had Bangkok chicken w fried rice which I liked and my friend liked the soup w the chicken coconut milk lemongrass. Papaya salad and the Shrimo and pineapple fried rice. Good prices tasty food will go back. Owner came out and told us there opening up a space behind the building which will be good. Wish them luck! Worthy of a try fellow hounds. Only problem there was only one server and it was getting busy. Ask for the hot pepper condiment tray. Very good

                1. h
                  HillJ May 10, 2013 03:22 PM

                  Curious, we stopped by for an early dinner. We had the place to ourselves and I immediately ordered a Thai iced coffee-so refreshing after a long walk in town!

                  We started out ordering two appetizers: summer rolls and the Muang Thai's Mermaids (marinated stuffed shrimp). Both arrived with a tiny bowl of plum dipping sauce. One cool dish, one hot and both delightful and spicy good!

                  For entrees we ordered the Drunken Noodles with beef, Masaman Curry with shrimp and the Muang Thai's chicken. The spice level was on target but we found the beef skimpy and too chewy and the potatoes in the curry dish way under cooked. The Muang Thai Chicken arrived as a full skinned breast; we would have preferred sliced pieces. Steamed white rice is included with the curry and the Thai chicken. A few additional drinks and our bill came to $79.00 for three people before tip.

                  I came home to double-check the menu photos & dinner prices as written on the website (posted in this thread). Turns out, we were over changed $10.00 on the total bill and the menu photos clearly feature larger dinner portions than we received (four summer rolls were served, not six along with extra vegetables as photographed and the Muang Thai Chicken came with one chicken breast not two as photographed).

                  For a new restaurant, I think food shots should be accurate and learning we were overcharged after the fact only makes for poor introductions. Unless we didn't catch a tip included on the bill and actually double tipped (is that even possible? did anyone experience this?) I'm afraid that's our first and last visit to Muang Thai RB.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ
                    jrvedivici May 10, 2013 05:01 PM

                    HillJ, HillJ, HillJ.......this is how rumors get started! You were there for an early dinner, I had a late lunch at The Bistro (sushi was ehhhh ok) , then walked down to Muang Thai. I looked through the window, nobody in the place, then looked at the menu and continued my stroll.

                    If you happened to notice a dashingly handsome large middle aged man, in a black suit, with a beautiful 17 year old daughter and cute as a button shi tzu, then we might have crossed path's!

                    1. re: jrvedivici
                      h
                      HillJ May 10, 2013 05:30 PM

                      What time were you in town? We were there around 4:30ish. Darn!

                      1. re: HillJ
                        jrvedivici May 10, 2013 05:42 PM

                        We had lunch around 2:30 and were outside Muang Thai around 3:30.

                        It was a beautiful afternoon for Red Bank.

                        1. re: jrvedivici
                          h
                          HillJ May 10, 2013 05:48 PM

                          Geez! That's too funny! My youngest and a buddy are home from Univ., both graduated! So, I was there with two strapping 23 year olds. It was beautiful today, just disappointed by our 1st time exp. @ Muang Thai.

                          Next we'll try the new seafood joint off Bridge.

                          1. re: HillJ
                            jrvedivici May 10, 2013 05:59 PM

                            Hahaha I was thinking about checking out the Chowda House, but to be honest, the place has already irked me!

                            It's the "Chowda House" but on the menu they only have NE & Manhattan Chowders. Based on their name I was anticipating some exotic chowders, not the two staples.

                            I'm kind of a stickler for lil details like that.

                            1. re: jrvedivici
                              h
                              HillJ May 10, 2013 06:05 PM

                              So am I...but, I'll take one for the team and then decide.

                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                equal_Mark Sep 30, 2013 08:01 PM

                                Can't believe Chowda House is not also offering New Mexico or Nebraska Chowders! WTF?

                                In the mean time, expect to try out Muang Thai for lunch this week. Trying to figure out the online menu that does not seem to indicate any spice levels or offer side dishes, appetizers or soups. What's with that?

                                1. re: equal_Mark
                                  jrvedivici Oct 1, 2013 04:25 AM

                                  If you've never had other besides New England and/or Manhattan that's a shame EM. There is an entire world of chowders out there; corn, potato, crab, seafood, salmon, shrimp, crawfish and any number of fish chowders.

                                  Try one sometime expand your chowder resume.

                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                    equal_Mark Oct 1, 2013 07:56 AM

                                    I am well aware of the different types of chowders that are out there, they are essentially the same recipe with different main ingredients. This was not the point of "Chowda House. It's a New England style seafood joint after all.

                                    From what is stated on their website, Chowda house hopes to focus on their "love of Seafood and the Rhode Island-New England feel." For what it's worth, the clam chowder now referred to as "Manhattan" style originated in Rhode Island...

                                    Would still enjoy some input on the Muang Thai lunch menu.

                    2. h
                      HillJ Oct 1, 2013 07:48 AM

                      Went back to Muang Thai twice just for a quick Thai coffee since my original comment here and I noticed the prices have changed (slightly higher) and the photos in some cases had been fixed to reflect :what you see, is what you get."

                      Has anyone eaten there recently?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ
                        corvette johnny Oct 1, 2013 02:32 PM

                        Not recently, only twice a little while back. In general, did they raise prices on everything or a few dishes? I thought their lower pricing would help them against their higher priced competition, considering the long established Siam Garden does some decent business.

                        The one thing I thought they had going was their lower pricing. The food was decent but I wasn't blow away (then again I have only sampled 4 dishes between my wife and I)

                        Mark, if I recall they do have some indication of whether a dish is spicy on the physical menu but I forgot how they rated it. Don't quote me but I am pretty sure. As you probably know, the thai places will turn the heat up if you ask them.

                        1. re: corvette johnny
                          h
                          HillJ Oct 1, 2013 03:12 PM

                          I noticed the price change on the dishes I ordered first visit. Red ink marks a dish as hot and they will def. adjust heat high-low upon request-'cause I asked.

                          I'm planning a visit for lunch soon so I'll report back.

                      2. equal_Mark Oct 22, 2013 07:52 PM

                        Dined at Muang Thai tonight with Tapas52 and was really impressed. The food and service were top notch as the folks running the place, even early on a Tuesday, demonstrated a real interest in presenting a great meal.

                        We were there shortly after 4pm, and were greeted not only by the wait staff, but by the Chef/owner. It is a pretty small place but is nicely decorated.

                        Started with Tom Ka Gai soup which was creamy and had a nice level of spice even though it is not presented as a spicy selection. We also split an order of Muang Thai's Mermaids, which were marinated shrimp stuffed in grounded chicken, coriander root, individually wrapped in egg roll skin served with spicy plum sauce. They were OK but the plum sauce was not all that spicy.

                        At this pint the owner/chef, Chang came out and started talking to us about the food and what they were trying to do as far as the cuisine of Northeast Thailand. We opted to try out the Larb as well as the Basil Duck. Given that the Larb was served at room temperature I asked that it be served "Thai Hot." He seemed reluctant, but eventually agreed.

                        At this point I have to acknowlege that I have been to a number of Asian places that have advertised "spicy, hot" food only to dissapoint. Along with our order I also requested containers of their red pepper sauce and fish sauce. When bringing them to the table he suggested we taste the food before adding any extra heat... Good Call!

                        The Chicken Larb had a great flavor of lime, cilantro and other spices but within a minute or so started to give a serious chile pepper glow resulting in a serious sweat as well as sinus clearing heat. Wow! No need of any chile sauce or fish sauce!

                        Found that even though it was also somewhat spicy, the crispy parts of the Basil
                        Duck helped quell the heat from the Larb quite well.

                        We split a Sweet Mango with coconut sticky rice dessert which cooled things down nicely.

                        This was a great meal and I have to give a good recommendation. The food was really good and Chang the owner seemed to be really passionate about what he was trying to do there...

                         
                         
                        6 Replies
                        1. re: equal_Mark
                          Tapas52 Oct 23, 2013 06:07 AM

                          I can only add to what Mark has described so far is that aside from excellent friendly knowledgeable service & atmosphere Muang Thai is definitely a step above many of the so called Thai restaurants in MC/OC that I have been to so far, MT also has a location in Spotswood NJ also FYI. They have many items in each category on their menu and I must return soon to try some more selections.
                          The Tom Ka Gai soup, Chicken Larb one of my favorites & Basil Duck dishes were amazing & cooked to a perfect degree of crispiness by Chef Chuang.!!.The Sticky rice with Coconut Ice cream & Mango presentation looked beautiful and tasted soooo good, ...Heat levels on the dishes were not for the squeamish but instead "spot on" for the educated palette who enjoys the traditional way Thai Food "should taste" when spiced correctly...MT is my new goto place when I want Real Thai Food!
                          Check it out! .....

                          http://www.muangthaiusa.com/

                          1. re: equal_Mark
                            corvette johnny Oct 23, 2013 06:11 AM

                            Mark, the other night I made the mistake of ordering the drunken noodles "extra spicy" and it melted my face off. I can tolerate heat but this was ridiculous. I learned my lesson the hard way. I am glad you enjoyed it.

                            I have a good dish for you to try if you like duck. Kunya Siam in Atlantic highlands also has a basil duck so I would love to hear your comparison. Likewise, I will try the basil duck at Muang next time. They will make the duck crispier if you ask and I think it is quite a good dish for 16 bucks. The other 11 dollar dish I love is the chicken tamarind at Kunya Siam.

                            1. re: corvette johnny
                              h
                              HillJ Oct 23, 2013 08:33 AM

                              I'm thrilled to hear you two had a blast at Muang Thai and I will return now. I enjoy Kunya Siam in Atl Highlands a great deal too.

                              1. re: corvette johnny
                                MGZ Oct 23, 2013 08:36 AM

                                "Mark, the other night I made the mistake of ordering the drunken noodles "extra spicy" and it melted my face off. I can tolerate heat but this was ridiculous. I learned my lesson the hard way. I am glad you enjoyed it."

                                Man up.

                                1. re: MGZ
                                  corvette johnny Oct 23, 2013 08:43 AM

                                  No seriously, it was a disaster. It was an order that was picked up and I think I know the problem. I had a bad connection on my cell phone and I think I said the word hot and spicy more than once as it was breaking up. I think she took it as this guy wants it more than just traditional spicy after hearing me say it several times. lol

                                  Anyway, I learned my lesson.

                                  HillJ, what dishes do you get at Kunya? its a bit cheaper and closer to me. I think they removed the whole snapper from the menu. I was there like a week ago. I might go tonight actually.

                                  1. re: corvette johnny
                                    h
                                    HillJ Oct 23, 2013 11:54 AM

                                    Let's see, beef-drunken noodles, curry puffs, steamed vegetable dumplings, Iced or Hot Thai coffee, steamed rice with chili (makes special for me), Recently we had the tilapia and jumbo shrimp specials for dinner and liked both very much. Ka-Nom-Jeeb, Green Curry Shrimp and a bowl of Tom Yum Goong are my go to lunch order.

                            2. famdoc Nov 3, 2013 12:21 PM

                              Top-notch Thai food. Chef is Isaan, but only two larbs on the menu. Papaya salad as good as it gets. Cheerful, friendly service. Large portions.

                              Now, to address prices: they are quite high for suburban Thai. Frankly, quite high for NYC Thai. That said, given the large portions, it is easy to share. Five of us had lunch there yesterday, bill was $107 plus tip. Enough left over for two lunches today.

                              They will really try to sell you their $30.95 (!) fish special.
                              An adjacent table had it...it looked wonderful, but, at that price, it should be!

                              Highly recommended, be a wise consumer when ordering to avoid sticker shock.

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