Tucked in the strip mall known as the Shops at Halfmoon is a little jewel of a Thai-Japanese fusion restaurant that was recommended to us by a friend in Alaska who became a habitué when she lived here.
Sushi Thai at the Park was not our original destination when we set out for brunch on Labor Day, but the holiday intervened serendipitously. When we found our original destination was closed, we decided that Asian cuisine in Halfmoon would be a great alternative.
The outside of the place is typical strip mall, but don’t be deceived. The interior is charming, with a Spartan line that is broken by comfortable modern furnishings, beautiful wall hangings of Asian motifs and greenery that includes bamboo. What’s more important is that Sushi Thai has great food.
You can also get house specialty cocktails, including calorie-conscious choices, or wine.
Sushi Thai at the Park
WHERE: 1707 Route 9, Suite 100, Clifton Park. 348-0100; www.sushithaiatthepark.net
WHEN: Lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Sunday; dinner: 3-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 3-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
OTHER INFO: All major credit cards accepted. Handicapped accessible.
We spent a little while on the menu before ordering, and it turned out we were both in a spicy-hot mood, which shouldn’t surprise regular visitors to this corner.
I made up my mind early to order the Drunken Noodles ($11.95), whose spicy heat is signified by two little chili pepper symbols on the menu. (The menu indicates mildly spicy dishes with one pepper, medium spicy with two and “hot and spicy” with three, but the staff will adjust dishes according to your wishes.)
Lunch date Beverly was in a Thai curry mood and chose the Green Curry with duck ($13.95), which also rated two chili peppers. (You can also order it with chicken, beef, pork, tofu, shrimp, scallops or squid.)
In both dishes, the heat was sufficient to clear our sinuses; to put it simply, there was more than a little bite but it was less than painful.
Before the entrées, we ordered appetizers — Thai Dumplings for me ($4.50) and Coconut Soup ($3.75) for Beverly. I vacillated before choosing the dumplings, sidetracked briefly by the Chicken Satays, marinated chicken that is grilled over charcoal and served on skewers in a coconut sauce with additional cucumber and peanut sauce. Who doesn’t love barbecued meat on a stick?
But the dumplings were a good choice too, stuffed with savory pork and veggies and steamed gently to a tender consistency. They were served in a sweet ginger sauce.
The Coconut Soup was delightful, a light broth with complex accents, full of crispy fresh vegetables including baby corn, yellow squash and zucchini, carrots, green beans, snow peas and mushrooms and seasoned with galangal, lime juice, scallions and cilantro.
Drunken Noodles is a standard Thai dish that, according to tradition, is hot enough that you’d have to be in your cups to order them. In fact, they’re not that hot, and Sushi Thai’s version, with lovely flat, stir-fried noodles, lots of red pepper flakes and pieces of white chicken meat and shrimp, is a treat. The medley also includes snow peas, green beans, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers and basil shoots in a spicy basil sauce with plenty of red pepper flakes. I would definitely order this dish again, though it would be in competition with a lot of other possibilities at Sushi Thai, whose menu is extensive and includes a large selection of Japanese dishes as well as the Thai specialities.
The Thai green curry with duck was served in coconut milk with crispy green beans, bamboo shoots, snow peas, bell peppers and basil leaves and came with a generous mound of jasmine rice, which was a great complement to the curry, with its bright green sauce dramatic in presentation on a white plate. The flavors were complex and multifaceted with accents of hot pepper, sweet coconut milk, richly savory duck meat and earthy basil. It was, to oversimplify, a dish that satisfied without leaving you feeling you had overindulged.
Sushi Thai’s presentations are charming in their minimalism — not unlike the place itself. Food is artfully arranged on stark white plates and can cause you to marvel at the dish even before you’ve taken your first bite.
We were undeniably in a Thai frame of mind on our recent visit, but there is also an extensive offering of sushi, sashimi and other Japanese dishes. There’s also a separate and ambitious takeout lunch menu for those with no time to linger.
We ordered cups of hot green tea with our meal and, ultimately, succumbed to the dessert menu’s description of a green tea ice cream dish, charmingly presented in the shape of a flower with green and white petals radiating from a big red cherry. It was enough to put us slightly over our budget, but we did come in at just slightly over $29 before tax and tip.
Galangal, which is among the flavorings in the Coconut Soup at Sushi Thai at the Park, is the pungent root of the galangale plant, which is dried and used as a seasoning but also in some medicines. The galangale is a zingiberaceous plant, which means it’s related to ginger.
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Categories: Food, Life and Arts