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has anyone eaten at Pai Northern Thai Kitchen?

I just read a review of this new Thai place on blogTo. Has anyone tried it? I am wondering if it can really be as described in that article.

http://www.dine.to/pai_northern_thai?...

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  1. I've been 3 times. If you like Nuit's dishes at Khao San Road, Sabai Sabai, and Sukho Thai you'll find Pai is right up there :)

    The Basa comes with a tamarind sauce at Sabai, but at Pai it is accompanied by a delicious green curry, it's sooo good.

    IMHO that dine.to reviewer was harsh... they only opened a few weeks back and the menu is still expanding (e.g. snacks are planned once the liquor license arrives).

    2 Replies
    1. re: JonasBrand

      Does Pai have a liquor license yet?

    2. Not yet. I've been following them on facebook since before they opened but there hasn't been a lot of hard info (ie/ I've been hoping for some menu variation from their other places). Will have to wander up at lunch soon to check it out. I'm not super confident in that reviewer either - for example, green curry in Thailand isn't full of a rainbow of Western veggies, although I understand why someone might expect that based on experiences here. But most Thai experiences here are crap.

      1. That review was unnecessarily harsh. I disagree about the pad thai. One dish that was missed in the review was the incredible Khao Soi with drumsticks. Wear a bib - noodles & splashy yellow curry are a dangerous mix!

        I've been 3 times, people in my office down the street have been more. (OK, maybe some referral bonuses would be nice, but hey.)

        I do agree that the liquor license would be awfully handy.

         
        2 Replies
        1. re: Wino In Training

          Luckily I doubt anyone cares what dineto thinks anyway... I didn't even realize they were still around.

          1. re: julesrules

            I don't believe much of what they say, but I usually have a look during my coffee break!

        2. I'll preface by saying that I am working with Nuit and Jeff at Pai.

          The restaurant is in a soft opening phase. He ate at the restaurant within the first week. The menu is purposely smaller than intended and will include many new dishes and the Bebop menu (a bar-focused section) very soon.

          We are all eagerly waiting for the liquor license! Glad to hear the positive reviews :)

          21 Replies
          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            Can't wait to try. Can you confirm if Pai will have separate vegan menu as with Sabai Sabai?

            Thank you!

            1. re: mrsleny

              They will have one but they're still finalizing it and it will be available in the coming weeks.

                1. re: canadianbeaver

                  Yes. I sent them a tweet and they are open tomorrow for lunch and for dinner.

                  1. re: kwass

                    Thank you!! So excited to report back!

                    1. re: canadianbeaver

                      Maybe I'll see you there. I'm going as well :)

                  1. re: mrsleny

                    no problem :) hope you all have a lovely time at Pai.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      Is Pai wheelchair accessible? With TIFF approaching, I'm thinking about accessible restos in the Entertainment District.

                      Does anyone know about accessibility of Khao San Road?

                      1. re: canmark

                        Pai is down a set of stairs (about half a dozen steps iirc). I don't remember a wheelchair accessible entrance. I will double check next time I am there for lunch.

                        1. re: GrahamChubb

                          Thanks all. I was afraid of the lack of wheelchair access at both Pai and KSR. A friend told me that there is a law that says that all restaurants (and stores) are required to have wheelchair accessibility (unless it would cause undue hardship to the business owner), yet it seems that so many new (and old) restaurants are without accessibility. The Entertainment District, in particular, seems to have an inordinate number of restaurants that are either up or down a few steps. It’s disappointing to read about a good new restaurant only to find that it is inaccessible to me.

                          Last year during TIFF, I did go to Sabai Sabai (which I liked) in between films at the Ryerson and Elgin theaters. I was using a walker then, and was able to get in and out of the restaurant without any problem (I’m not sure about the washrooms, as I did not use the facilities).

                          Now I’m completely unable to walk and would need wheelchair accessibility. I’ve eaten a few times at the O&B Canteen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and that place is fine, although the close-set tables and crowds can make it difficult to maneuver. I use both a power wheelchair and a manual wheelchair (with somebody pushing me).

                          1. re: canmark

                            Renovations in existing buildings do not need to be barrier free if the existing suite floor level is more than 200mm above or below existing grade.

                            1. re: hal2010

                              I wonder how they'd get a stretcher out if someone needed medical assistance.

                              1. re: GoodGravy

                                OT but my dad had a heart attack 7 years ago on the second floor of our house. In short they carry the stretcher.

                                1. re: LexiFirefly

                                  I figured that, but I thought part of the reason for accessibility rules was for medical emergency response, not just people in wheelchairs.

                                  1. re: GoodGravy

                                    It is definitely faster. Since there are other options however I don't think that aspect is a priority.

                        2. re: canmark

                          KSR is down a small flight of stairs.

                          1. re: canmark

                            i recall that Pai has a small "patio" at street level. when i went for dinner last Friday, it was not being used. it might be more of a waiting area than anything, but could try your luck with that!

                  2. re: pinstripeprincess

                    Thanks for the updates! What do you do there?

                    1. re: szw

                      i help out where they want/need for PR and marketing.

                  3. I have. Service and food were great. I'll definitely be back when I have time for more than a desk lunch.
                    My friend who always orders the Khao Soi at KSR was convinced to try the chicken drumstick version at Pai (they were willing to make it with beef for him but the server was raving about the drumstick) and he loved it.

                    As others have said, if you like KSR, Sukho Thai, etc. you will like Pai.

                    I can really speak to review as I didn't have any of the dishes mentioned. But, I'm can only think the reviewer was being harsh or went on an off-day for the restaurant as I've always enjoyed the dishes I've had at their other restaurants.

                    1. I've been once and can't wait to go back! The food is fantastic!!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kwass

                        That's good to hear. I checked if there were any reviews here before asking and didn't see any. Did you order a green curry doughnut for dessert?

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          No. Must have missed that on the menu ;)

                      2. I went on Tuesday night. The service was fast and friendly, and I appreciated that the music wasn't blaring like at Sukho Thai. I ordered the massaman curry and found it disappointing. The potatoes and onions were both really undercooked (read: crunchy) and the curry was overly sweet. My sister's pad thai was tasty though.

                        1. I've been for brunch a few times; both the crispy omelette and the filled omelette are really good. The green curry inside the coconut was also really nice and I'm a sucker for morning glory so I was glad it was on the menu.

                          1. Been twice now for dinner and loved it both times. Highly recommend the green curry in the coconut (scrape down the sides of the coconut when serving to add a wonderful textural contrast), the simple fried rice (sooo delicious - I could literally eat this every day - be sure to add the fish sauce and chilies they serve on the side), the fried fish and the pork skewers. And I'm with ggom1 on the morning glory - you can't quite believe that something so seemingly simple can be so flavourful. If you've been to the real Pai, you'll get a kick out of the decor, especially the Be Bop bar area (named after a very popular hangout in Pai and where, in the Toronto incarnation, you can try and shoot a basket to get your dessert comped). I don't remember seeing donuts or anything other than mango and sticky sweet rice for dessert but I could be wrong.

                            Chef Nuit is at the top of her game here. Great vibe as well.

                            1. Got a chance to go tonight. No line up (we had no reservations), were seated right away. Service was friendly, informative and helpful (we asked for recommendations, etc). We had the green curry in the coconut (and scraped up the coconut, thanks for the tip!), the pad thai and pad graw pow. Perfect amount of food to share for two of us. No liquor license, but after the weekend I had, that was okay by me ;) Total cost was $50 after tax, but before tip. Oh and the decor was great! I'll definitely be back!!

                              1. i have been 3x! once for dinner shortly after they first opened, and twice for lunch. the food is super flavourful (complex layers of flavour too, as good thai food should be) and delicious. i had the squash fritters, green tofu curry in the coconut (great sauce, but only had mainly tofu.. would be nice to have some veg in there), a veg version of khao soi (i always find this one a bit too rich though), and this dish whose name i forgot (veg and tofu with rice and a fried egg) - obviously, i am vegetarian. :) it wasn't a huge deal to me but the servers i had made some mistakes on two of the visits. the first time i went (for dinner), our server brought out a dish we had not ordered. after we told him we didn't order it, he looked confused and took it back in to the kitchen. it turned out it was a dish a friend of mine asked about, and he explained what it was, but she had ordered something else (which she did get as well), but he thought she ordered it. the other mistake by the same server was that i had asked for brown rice as it was on the menu, and he brought out white rice. when i told him i ordered brown, he said he told me that they had run out (he never actually told me). all these mistakes by the same waiter was annoying though, and he looked like he thought we were the ones messing up since he likely didn't realise it was him. the other mistake was at lunch last week when i ordered the dish with the rice + fried egg on top (they subbed veg and tofu for the meat).. it came out without the egg so i had to ask for it. i guess they assumed i wanted it vegan when i didn't want the meat, but they should have asked to clarify.

                                other than that, i will still return as the food is good.. but only after they have more options on the menu for us vegetarians.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: helenhelen

                                  Oh man, there are few things in the world worse than a waiter who makes a mistake, and then takes a snide "oh, that was your fault, not mine... but I guess I'll fix it for you" attitude.

                                  1. re: Michael N

                                    it was annoying, but i figure it was all a big misunderstanding/miscommunication so it didn't bother me too much beyond annoyance

                                  2. re: helenhelen

                                    I think the rice dish that you're referring to is called pad gra prao

                                    1. re: helenhelen

                                      Thanks for the "veggie" review. I love the squash fritters at Sabai Sabai. Glad to hear they have brown rice option. Looking forward to trying the veg/tofu rice and egg dish.

                                      1. re: mrsleny

                                        a lot of these are not on the menu - but just ask your waiter what dishes can be made veg. i am looking forward to the full veg menu when that is ready!

                                    2. Went tonight and I don't get the hype. The food was good and well executed, but that's about all I can say. The Pad Gra Prow was tasty w/ some textural contrast, but it was also one note and not all that complex. The crispy basa (Khao Pla Tawt) was plentiful w/ a sweet and hot sauce. The mango w/ sticky rice dessert was exactly that. Fresh and simple is good, but I can't say much more than that.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: GoodGravy

                                        Can anyone tell me whether Pai is particularly noisy? Menu looks great, but am taking a friend on Friday night and want to be able to talk.

                                        1. re: Phoenix

                                          Make reservations for a table for two. Noise level is average, but we sat at a communal table last night so I overheard conversations on either side of us. No problems having a conversation at the communal table unless you don't want others to listen in. A table all your own should make conversation even easier.

                                      2. Chris Nutall-Smith gave them 2 stars in a review last week. He says they serve some of the best Thai food in Toronto, but the competition isn't that strong. I have to agree that the SE Asian food in this city could be more adventurous.

                                        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/f...

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: hal2010

                                          This review really echoed my own thoughts. Ever since Nuit and Jeff started their restaurants I have been wondering if I am the only person who doesn't remember food in Thailand being that sweet, lacking in bitterness, etc. At the same time I do appreciate that their food is damn good for what it is, and that perhaps they need to make it accessible for what Toronto expects from Thai food. I can't argue with the success and popularity of their restaurants. Still, I was hoping for a few more new items on the menu at Pai. Hopefully those are indeed coming :)

                                          1. re: julesrules

                                            Yes ! Absolutely, the bitterness / sour is missing. Ate at Pai last week and really enjoyed it, had the Pad Gra Prow. It was fabulously intensely flavoured but a more bitter backbone to the dish would have put it over the moon.
                                            That said, a great meal and wonderful to see them in a new space.

                                            1. re: Mila

                                              I love, love the Pad Gra Prao. There's just something about the combination of flavours and textures with the minced meat, rice and crispy egg with runny yolk that I find addictive. There's a garlic and chile "sauce" (not sure what to call it -- it's clear and thin with chiles in it) that is usually served on the side (or that you can ask for) that really rounds out the flavours for me.

                                              I've had a couple of private dinners there where Nuit tested several dishes that were fantastic. I really look forward to her adding more of her Northern specialties to the menu.

                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                I was there last week and had the pad gra prao as well, which is my favourite dish on the menu. That dish is so good that I'm always tempted to order 2 of them :)

                                        2. I love Nuit's food, but IMO they really need to hire a host/hostess! i dropped by Pai for a quick lunch, stood there for 5 minutes without any greeting as waitresses and waiters walked by, and then we left to eat somewhere else. This is far too long to be left idle. I know the other servers are busy doing something at the moment, but IMO they should make the effort to greet the customer or at least "someone will be right with you", especially as they are walking by me and making eye contact.

                                          This is not the first time either. I have been going to Sukhothai since they first opened, and a couple times in the last year I've brought friends to the new location and we had the same experience, standing there in the middle of the restaurant waiting for 10 minutes to be greeted. It was extremely embarrassing since I suggested my friends to come here, and this happened on two separate occasions. I've stopped taking friends here now solely because of this, though I still enjoy the food.