Though thousands of miles apart in origin, the food of Thailand and the food of Japan find a happy meeting place thousands more miles away on the white china at Nampa's Krung Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar. A few months ago, a BW reader sent a note stating that the place has the best sushi he's found in Oregon, Washington, Montana or Idaho, and that he makes excuses to come to Idaho on business to eat at Krung Thai. On a weekday afternoon, I went out of my way to see (taste) what he was raving about.
The restaurant appears to be a popular lunchtime destination, with 20 or so people braving the Garrity Boulevard traffic on a weekday. The diners' voices, a gurgling indoor waterfall and high-pitched, foreign-language shouts from the kitchen produced an atmospheric cacophony.
My friends--an English professor and a college student--and I started with the fried tofu ($5.95). Giant dough-covered cubes that smelled and tasted like fair food were accompanied by a spicy-sweet Thai peanut dipping sauce and an artfully arranged pile of onions and tomatoes. The English professor said they were too oily, but by meal's end, he'd chopsticked all but a few of the tofu pieces into his mouth.
With a dinner menu, a lunch menu and a sushi menu before us, price points became our decider. The student opted for pad Thai with tofu ($6.50), the professor picked a plate of mixed vegetables with tofu ($9.95) and, wanting in on the Thai/Japanese fusion, I took the Thai-sushi lunch plate ($8.95): pad Thai and a tiny spicy tuna roll with two crab rangoon pockets. I added on Krung Thai's namesake roll ($11.95)--mixed sashimi and crab topped with a spicy sashimi aioli--assuming that with the restaurant's name, it would be either unique or incredible. It was neither.
The pad Thai was quite good and was what pad Thai is: a dish in which every restaurant in Idaho that serves it seems to follows the same recipe, which is fine by me.
A lemony bite in the middle of the Krung Thai roll was a pleasant, citrus surprise, but I almost didn't get to it. The sashimi atop the slices had the color, texture and taste of canned tuna, and the peachy-colored aioli wasn't enough to disguise it. While food presentation across the table was otherwise a major plus, this dish would have been best consumed eyes closed.
Either the scarlet-red dot of sriracha on the tuna roll or something in the aioli was set at so many Scoville units, neither a glass of water nor the sweet ambrosia of my iced Thai coffee ($2) cooled the burn, and I sweated like I was running a marathon in August.
From the time I left my desk until I returned, lunch took a long three hours, meaning I probably won't go back during the week. But when a friend learned he can get Thai and sushi in one place, he made me promise to take him to Krung Thai. Looks like I'm going back to Nampa this weekend.
--Amy Atkins trains for a 5K by eating wasabi-covered habaneros.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Krung Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar.