It’s no surprise that the closest restaurant to campus, Taste of Thai, has gained popularity among Lawrence students. The Thai restaurant serves a variety of Southeastern Asian dishes, which I can’t speak to in terms of authenticity. However, I can say that the menu variety makes for an interesting and satisfying culinary endeavor.
The restaurant is located on College Avenue close to Colman Hall, and is hard to miss. The atmosphere isn’t extravagant, but it maintains an appropriate level of simplicity and cleanliness.
Pronunciation of the dish names aside, the menu is a bit difficult to navigate. Every dish lists basic ingredients, but does not quite list the distinguishing qualities of the dish. I often ask the server for recommendations, since many of the dishes look similar.
The appetizers are excellent, including the best Crabmeat Rangoon I’ve ever had. The spring rolls are perfectly crispy and flavorful. The Shrimps in the Blanket, which are essentially flat shrimp eggrolls, are also a favorite.
There are also a wide variety of soups and salads, which are all quite interesting and different. I recommend trying a “hot pot”-sized soup, which provides enough to share between two to six people
The entrées include a plethora of curries, pastas, seafood and duck dishes. The most popular dish with most Lawrence students is the Pud Thai — more commonly known as Pad Thai — a dish made with fried rice noodles, optional meat and traditional Thai spices and vegetables. It is not the best Pad Thai I’ve had, but is definitely one of my favorite dishes at Taste of Thai because of its simplicity and comfort food quality.
Because of the popularity of this dish, it’s easy to overlook many of the other options. Another dish that is worth ordering is the Massaman Curry, a stew-like dish that is made with meat, peanuts, coconut milk and traditional curry spices. It’s served with rice, and is a mix of creamy, spicy and sweet flavors that are very typical of many of the dishes served at Taste of Thai.
The server will ask you how spicy you would like your food based on a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being the spiciest. From die-hard heat fans, I’ve heard that a 5 is still a pretty weak spice for Thai food, but I’m certainly happy with a 2.
The cost of food makes Taste of Thai a bit more accessible to students, ranging from 10 to 20 dollars per entrée — appetizers, soups and salads not included. The main dishes are very large, and can be easily shared family-style.
The best way to experience A Taste of Thai’s food is to go with a large group of friends and order several entrées, which will provide you with an opportunity to sample a variety of flavors.
If you’re sick of the monotony of Andrew Commons, try Taste of Thai. You’ll most likely be happy with whatever you order. Dishes there are sort of like comfort food, but are also opportunities to experience new and exotic flavors.