Sabai Sabai (Dinner)
I've been to Sabai Sabai for a Northern Thai lunch several times and it is very tasty (especially the fried basa), but earlier this week I dropped by for dinner and realized they kick things up a notch with an expanded menu.
The format leans towards shared dishes, here is what we ate:
Grated Squash Fritters - A crispy nest of squash (think: thai frites).
Fried Garlic Shrimp - Fresh and crunchy, the sauce on the side was worthy of double dipping.
Khao Soi - A bit lighter and more refined than at the other locations it has been featured by Chef Nuit.
Grilled Pork Skewers - Tender, caramelized, could have eaten 3 more orders, they were goooood.
Grilled Beef Salad with Fresh Herbs - This was the star for me, it was really well balanced. I'd say the best take on this dish in Toronto. Tender rare seared beef, fresh herbs, roasted rice powder.
Grilled Wings - Slow grilled till unctuous, could have been a bit crispier and more charred.
Dessert - Squash in a thin condensed milk, the one miss.
Will definitely be back soon to try some of the other authentic northern thai dishes on the menu (fish custard steamed in banana leaf, holy basil stir fried shrimp, morning glory)
The most exciting news is that Jeff & Nuit (the pair originally behind Sukho Thai and Khao San Road) are planning to open another Thai spot 'Pai' in the next 6 months!
Ya gotta like the bright, clean, intense tastes at this spot. Four of us stumbled in late last week for dinner. The joint was jammed, and noisy, but convivial, mainly with groups in their 20s and 30s. Just about everything was mighty tasty: papaya salad, tom yum soup, morning glory, chicken wings, green curry shrimp, khao soi, several other dishes. Unlike the OP, in my view the only weak dish was the pork skewers - it didn't taste of much of anything, even with the accompanying dipping sauce. Wise advice to first-timers from the alert young service staff. Two can eat quite well here, with beers, for about $50, all in. Good value. A fun place.
The one time I went with a few friends we called the day of for reservations. It was on a Friday night I believe and we didn't have an issue. Throughout the night, we didn't really notice a lineup. Could be a little different now as this was maybe 2 or 3 months ago.
I agree with OP, we really liked the food there and it is very reasonably priced. Our big ticket item was the sparkling sangria which was pretty tasty.
Dinner for two for $50 all in will allow you to try a few things and be satisfied as some of the items such as Khao Soi can be a little heavy.
Servers are friendly but a little inexperienced, so hopefully that's gotten better.
I went a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday. No lineup and empty tables when we arrived at 8. By 9pm people were waiting. The food was very good. The service was slow and clunky and the beer selection was really disappointing, even if you take Beer Lao off the table. (They haven't had it since August.)
It would be nice to see their new place a bit more formal with an expanded and different menu. Aren't there now 3 restaurants serving that same Khao Soi?
Had your 'menu' last night, with the addition of Khao soi and less the morning glory. Enjoyed all of it immensely. (sorry. haha)
The wings and skewers were outstanding.
My only complaint is that the service was spotty, including making me wait 10 minutes for my "reservation" (with no line-up), which I made just-in-case (I don't do line-ups). Once half the restaurant cleared out (rammed at 8 when we got there, half-empty by 9:15), it was better - so maybe they need a few more servers during peak hours.