Thai Sweet Basil Express: good food, good value.

by | August 12, 2009 | 15 Comments

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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.

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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.

Thai Sweet Basil Express on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Sarah Sutton on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009. It is filed under:

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  • Sue Ellen says:
    August 12th, 2009 at 9:38 pm   

    It is so much fun to try something new. And yes, tofu IS good, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and the vegetables are so fresh and tender. It is even more fun to talk with Pat the waiter. Originally from Thailand, he loves Oklahoma and living in the Bethany area. A very interesting and friendly fellow, be sure to go when you have time to talk, which is the best thing I like about a restaurant….. getting to know the folks. Chonlada, the chef, also makes you feel very welcome. Give Sweet Basil a try. You will leave smiling!

  • DishinAndDishes says:
    August 13th, 2009 at 3:36 pm   

    I was so sad when the Elephant Cafe closed as it’s very close to my work. Then Charm opened, now this! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Rosie says:
    August 13th, 2009 at 9:28 pm   

    I have eaten there about a six or seven times, and each time, I loved it! I think their food is very good and a very good value. Also, I just love their tofu. I’m used to tofu that is more tough/hard. Their’s is soft in the middle and so very good. I highly recommend them to anyone. The food is authenic and they are willing to make exceptions, i.e. I am allergic to mushrooms, so they make mine without. Great place! I have been waiting for you all to review them, thanks so I can chime in with my positive vote.

  • Kevin says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 5:47 am   

    Haven’t made it in as yet, but this review certainly helps push me that direction. Does sound yummy.

  • CJ says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 10:08 am   

    I tried it yesterday, and I liked it as well as if not better than Elephant Cafe. I had the OMG rolls and the house curry (red peanut curry) and both were wonderful.

  • David says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 9:52 pm   

    I’m on my way there for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for doing these great reviews!

  • amy brown says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 11:39 am   

    sara, we’ve all been talking about this place at our office so we’re going to have to go now! and btw, next time you need friends to help you eat, call me!! :)

  • DishinandDishes says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 3:38 pm   

    Just ate here today and after Eating at Charm (their Rama sauce and Thai Basil is yumm!) which is very close, it was a little disappointing to me. I ordered the House Curry which is kind of a combo of red curry and peanut sauce and it was, well, just okay. The price was a tad lower than Charm – maybe by a dollar, but to me, the extra dollar is worth it? Service was very slow for me, which is a little frustrating at lunchtime but there were only 2 people working that I could tell. Don’t know if I’ll go back..probably not.

  • Rosie says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 3:14 pm   

    I have eaten there several times since my post and it is still a very good place to get authenic Tai. Also, they remodeled some, looks good. I know they are struggling due to it being so slow. I hope they don’t give up and leave! Y’all try it! :)

  • Bizzle says:
    September 20th, 2009 at 12:49 am   

    Finally made it here tonight. For a starter we had the Oh My God. Ehh, the first one was good and I appreciated the spice to the sauce, but after my second piece…well, I think I like a good crab rangoon better. I probably will try something else next time. For our main we had Thai Basil Shrimp and the Hawaiian fried rice. Both were wonderful. For next time I have my eye on the pineapple curry. Also, I tried the Thai Iced Tea and my comment at dinner was “strangely delicious.” I’m still deciding if I like this beverage or not. I’ve only had it once before and I don’t think I was much of a fan. It was orange in color. Anyone know if that is the norm? I’m fairy sure that when I had it a few years ago that it was not orange. So! Go check out Thai Basil. Being on the Southside, this was a bit of a drive, but I found it every bit as yummy as Thai Sayam in Del City.

  • Tim says:
    November 10th, 2009 at 4:08 pm   

    I just tried this for the first time. Of course, I had to have the Pad Thai to compare. Have to say, I wasn’t too impressed. There are subtle differences in Pad Thai and I’m sure everyone has different preferences, but for me, this wasn’t the best option. It’s more on the “thicker noodle and a little dry and sweet” side. The chicken was kind of tough as well.

    Iced Tea wasn’t too great either. I just had the regular iced tea. Maybe the Thai Iced Tea is really where it’s at.

    The service was good, though, and the lady who waited on us (and who I think runs the place) was very, very nice.

  • SSSSSNAKES! says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 12:43 pm   

    Took my girlfriend here on Valentine’s Day, it was empty except for one gentlemen who ate quickly and split. I had the Evil Jungle Woman dish…the sauce was amazingly delicious. We went full out with Thai Iced Tea, warm tapioca dessert and sticky rice dessert and we enjoyed both. The ladies running the place were vey nice and gave my girl a red rose when they delivered the check to our table. Thai Sweet Basil Express is quaint, cozy, off the beaten path, tasty and priced fairly. We’ll be back!

  • Karen says:
    November 9th, 2010 at 4:04 pm   

    This place is not my favorite and anything with chicken is less than desirable. Since eating the first time at Charm, I’ve not gone back to this Bethany restaurtant and will not as Charm’s food is much better. It’s fresher, tastier, there is natural light in the place and it’s just superior IMO. Agreeing with the poster above that the extra dollar is definitely worth it.

  • Kim W. says:
    August 9th, 2011 at 11:38 am   

    Just ate here for the first time yesterday. The yellow curry was yummy, and so were the Buddha (vegetarian) pot stickers. But my favorite thing was the Thai Lemon Grass soup, spicy and delicious! One thing I did notice was that their prices have gone up considerably. The yellow curry alone was $8.95. The lunch special (which added a soup and an app) was $9.95.

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