Thai Kitchen: A rollicking, frolicking, finger-licking good "thai"-ime

Tucked away on a secluded side street of Campustown, Thai Kitchen has managed to survive, even thrive, despite the proximity of better known competitors. Even thought the location is hardly prime and Jimmy John’s and Pizza Pit are only a stone’s throw away, Thai Kitchen has still managed to amass a number of faithful regulars. Although this is purely speculation on my part, I think it has something to do with the food. The menu is quite expansive, with well over 50 choices in salads, soups, noodles, fried rices, entrees and curries, and more than a few appetizers. However the beverage selection is not quite as varied; besides free water and hot tea, there is Thai Iced Tea, Thai Iced Coffee and pop. The dessert menu includes fried bananas, green-tea ice cream and banana-coconut soup, just to name a few. If the decidedly ethnic dessert menu didn’t convince you, then let me make one thing clear; Thai Kitchen is the real deal, and there are certificates of authenticity posted on the restaurant’s walls to prove it. But it wasn’t certificates that brought hungry college students hither; it was the combination of low prices and belly-rubbin’ good food. Even if you are a sworn enemy of authentic ethnic food, you can still afford to give Thai Kitchen a try. For all but the starving, $10 is enough to cover a meal; off the general menu, one can choose from the beef/chicken/pork ($7.50), seafood/shrimp ($8.50) and vegetarian ($7) options. The priciest item on the menu is the Thai Kitchen platter ($14. 95) for two, a comprehensive sampling of 8 out of the 9 appetizers available. But anyone could read this off the menu (which can be found at ); a good WEB restaurant review requires some eating of food. And so, on Sunday night at six, my dining companion and I arrived at Thai Kitchen. I ordered the Green Curry with beef (because I was craving rice…) and after helping myself to some hot tea, sat down at a small table for two. There were only two other quiet groups in the restaurant when we entered but by the time we left, there were seven. Even then the conversations were fairly muted, probably a result of how close the tables were. Thai Kitchen probably won’t be winning any awards for décor anytime soon, but there certainly were a multitude of genuine Thai-things to look at to keep me occupied while I waited (just try to count the elephants). In ten minutes, the server arrived with our meal. My companion’s bowl of beef, noodles and soup and my Green Curry. My rice was arranged into a fun flower shape and my Green Curry was…green. So far, so good. The curry was spicy but not too sharp, and had slightly sweet, creamy undertones from the coconut milk. The combination sounded unusual in the menu description, but actually worked quite well. Along with some tender strips of beef, there were slices of yellow zucchini, carrots and green peppers. I still wanted more after finishing, but that was just because of how good it was, not because I was still hungry. I contented myself with some of my companion’s noodles. I only had about eight strands of the stuff, but each one had hints of refreshing beefy flavor, much milder than my spicy curry, but just as good in its own right. Thai Kitchen is, by all my definitions, a place worth visiting; I am convinced that if I had ordered anything else, I would’ve been just as satisfied. The fact that there are two known Thai Kitchen Facebook fan pages and numerous reviews from newspapers also second my opinion. But don’t just take my word for it; go and experience some real Thai food for yourself some “thai”-me. Thai Kitchen 2410 Chamberlain St. Ames, Iowa 50014. Tel: (515) 292-4788 Tue – Fri: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM., Sat – Sun: Noon – 9:00 PM., Closed on Mondays.