A Good Thai and Peruvian Restaurant
583 E. Main St.
Sullivan: There comes a time in every person’s life where one must venture to destinations unknown, to delve into mysterious habitations and acquaint oneself with new and exciting experiences. Going to A Good Thai and Peruvian Restaurant isn’t exactly what you would call exciting or mysterious, but an unknown destination? Why sure!
In the world of first impressions, A Good Thai needs some help. The ambience is fine, even though some air conditioning would be nice. But the first impression I am referring to is the menu, which is displayed in front for everyone to see. The menu is in dire need of an extreme makeover.
I would liken their menu to an evening with the late and great Sam Kinison. At first, his ragged appearance and yelling is quite a turn off. But once you actually get past his tirade and frazzled hairdo, you realize what he has to say is pretty funny.
Same with A Good Thai: The menu yells at you with its bold yet monotonous print but it is so blaring you simply select a dish with any word that looks semi-familiar. But once our waitress greeted us and presented us with an onslaught of delicious and filling dishes, why, oh, why can’t the menu parallel the food? The answer still eludes me.
So the plan was to share a bottle of Thai beer, Singha, which apparently, as I found out, is pretty hard to find in most beer and wine aisles and stores around Ventura; share the Thai Salad with a peanut dressing, which was similar to a chef salad minus the meat, and the veggie egg rolls; and we ordered separate curry dishes for our lunch. I opted for the pineapple curry, which came with a generous helping of rice.
My feelings: Singha: one of the best lagers around; Thai Salad: tasty, fresh and loved the dressing; egg rolls: delicious and not too greasy, a rarity; and the pineapple curry: big chunks of pineapple without skimping on the shrimp in a delicious coconut and curry sauce. Overall, the meal was superb.
I plead with you, A Good Thai: Please revamp your menu. I think too many overlook you because your menu is so overwhelming. But your food hits the mark!
Sisolak: If demerits are to be handed down for A Good Thai & Peru, take heart that it’s not for anything that could be considered remotely edible. . . that is, unless you like chewing on the acrid taste of paper.
The food here is exceptional, and rivals, and may even win the battle competing Thai restaurants along Main Street. That is, once you manage to decide on an order to be placed. Yes, the culprit here is the awkwardly designed menu, the stretched lettering, elongated font hard on the eyes, and sample-food pictures that look like a batch of egg rolls reflected in a funhouse mirror.
I suppose the difficulty in placing my order — it took 15 minutes just to nail down an appetizer at that — and the resultant patience of our waitress is a testament to the trouble that could be avoided with a menu redesign. Evidence of this was my inability to notice, “All meat dishes can be substituted vegetarian,” or something to that verbal effect, in green writing, hidden on some corner of a page.
With that established, this meant anything was up for grabs for me. I chose the yellow curry, substituting its standard shrimp with tofu.
Sharing both dishes between us, it was obvious this was the kind of brow-wiping curry that tells you it’s spicy the way curry should, in a generous serving, no less. The base, an abundance of hearty coconut milk, was restrained enough not to water down the spice. The tofu cubes were certainly worth the 15 minutes it took to order, though the surprise standout portion of this dish was the potatoes. A taste of the pineapple curry revealed to me the entree’s eponymous fruit was its best ingredient.
I find the best vegetarian dishes to be the ones with tofu cooked to an exacting meat-like texture and flavor. In this case, the Thai salad we shared wins in spades. After a bite or two, I found myself checking to see if they mistakenly added chicken instead of grilled tofu doing a good impression of chicken. Turns out it was me who was mistaken, and the Good Thai kitchen staff doing more than just a good impression, preparing their tofu with perfection.
The Buddhists pledge their devotion to the Buddha, the dharma and the Sangha, and I pledged a portion of my thirst to our indulgence of a Singha, my favorite beer. This fermented satisfaction could have been beaten by a nice Thai iced tea or some fried bananas, but alas, after taking so long to order, there was no time for dessert.
Would we even have comprehended that part of the menu if we tried?