Thai Sweet Basil Express: good food, good value.
Thai Sweet Basil Express is located at 3917 N. College Avenue in Bethany (map). Hours are 11am to 9pm Monday through Saturday. Call them at 405.789.8898.
Thai Sweet Basil Express is the newest in a string of restaurants to occupy its location. Frankly, I don’t understand why any of them cannot seem to make a go of it. They have all served delicious food, and the owners couldn’t be more accommodating or friendly. Nevertheless, here goes the latest…
I took four friends and family members to lunch with me so I could get a variety of opinions and tastes. We arrived kind of early for lunch, so we were the first ones there and got to spend some time with the new owner and chef, Chonlada Robertson, and her assistant, Pat. They are friends of the previous tenant, who owned the Elephant Cafe, and who has moved to Boston.
We started with a couple of appetizers — the Edamame ($3.95) and the Potstickers ($3.95). The Edamade is great for vegetarians and a rather fun thing to do while you wait for your entree — just sitting and pulling soybeans out of the skin with your teeth! And it’s a great source of protein without filling you up. The pork and veggie Pot Stickers were nice and crunchy and served with a soy-ginger dipping sauce which was very good.
My friend, Ali, went with the Yellow Curry Chicken ($5.95) and went spicy with it. About two bites later, she began blowing her nose. This continued throughout the meal due to the heat. I had a bite, and it was delicious, and yes — it packed a delightful punch to the nose. If you like yellow curry, you have to try this dish.
My husband went with the Hawaiian Fried Rice with chicken ($6.95), which included eggs, raisins, pineapple chunks, cashews, tomatoes, carrots, onions and green peas. It was more on the sweet side of things, which makes sense if he ordered it. Most of the entrees he chooses could also qualify as dessert.
I had the Garlic Lover with chicken ($6.95), which included mushrooms, garlic, black pepper and fresh garlic sauce on a bed of steamed broccoli and cabbage. This was yummy and yes, my breath stunk up the entire car on the way back to work, but it was worth every bite.
Mom went with the “I Love Veggie” ($6.95) and (gasp) added no meat, but tofu instead. One of the great things about Thai Sweet Basil is that almost any of their entrees can be prepared for vegetarians.
Cousin Carol had the Spicy Basil ($6.95) with pork. Her dish included fresh chili and garlic, bell peppers, onion and mushroom, green onion and sweet basil leaves. This was yet again a completely different and really nice taste. We all really enjoyed sampling each other’s dishes and the variety of tastes and seasonings. All of our dishes were accompanied with a generous portion of white rice.
We thought the prices across the board here were very reasonable for the amount of food we received. Protein options for most entrees are chicken, pork, beef or tofu for $6.95 and shrimp for $7.95. The servings are very generous and piled high on your plate, such that we all took home half of our entrees for dinner the next night.
Chanlada and Pat have many years of cooking experience in Thailand and most recently, in Oregon. They say they are always very interested to see how people all over the U.S. like their food prepared. Toward the end of our meal, they insisted we try the appetizer entitled, “Oh My God!” ($4.95). This was a fried tortilla roll with crab meat, cream cheese and basil leaves, accompanied by a fantastic spicy plum dipping sauce. It was great as a dessert, as the sauce was also sweet. This was probably the best thing we tried.
Pat also insisted we come back to try his “subagetti” (spaghetti). He said he used to work in an Italian restaurant and invented this Thai/Italian fusion dish. There are four varieties available: peanut sauce, red curry, green curry and yellow curry. It’s the chef’s special available for $6.95 also.
Pat and Chonlada are anxious for their business to begin. We told them things should pick up after SNU classes begin again. They said they ran more of a fast-food express type place in Oregon, so they are prepared for larger crowds.
Here’s calling all Bethany-area residents. This is another delightful place for new tastes. Let’s get out and support them! After you’ve tried it, let me know what you think.