Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FW&D Review of Tommy Thai Restaurant and Lounge

This month’s restaurant review took us to Springfield, very close to the new FW&D office. FW&D visited Tommy Thai, in the Kmart shopping center off Old Keene Mill Road. Two friends/clients of FW&D, who live in Springfield, alerted us to this fairly new restaurant and joined us for this review. Tommy Thai has been around for a few years and boasts elegant décor, outdoor patio with seating, and private party room for 20 guests (and karaoke!). It is open for lunch and dinner daily, and offers catering, carry-out, and free delivery.

Outside View

Tommy Thai serves what’s known as Thai fusion, explaining on its website, “Our intent is to marry traditional Thai dishes with common American flavors to create new cuisine that fine diners everywhere can appreciate.” The restaurant offers a wide variety of choices on its menu, including appetizers, soups and salads, grilled entrées, noodles and fried rice, curry dishes, and vegetarian entrées. FW&D ordered a mix of these different choices, and certainly appreciated each of them as promised.

For starters, FW&D tasted some popular Asian appetizers, Spring Rolls and Chicken Satay. The Spring Rolls were stuffed with cellophane noodles, cabbage, carrot, celery, and mushroom, and were served piping hot and fresh with a sweet dipping sauce. The Chicken Satay, served with a peanut sauce, was also sweet but not overly so.

Crispy Rolls

Spring Roll Appetizer

Chicken Satay Appetizer

In looking around at the other diners, FW&D noticed that many people ordered the whole fish, so we asked the waitresses to bring us one to experience for ourselves. The dish was Crispy Flounder, offered with a choice of chili and garlic sauce or triple flavor: sweet, spicy, and sour sauce. We chose the chili and garlic. The fish arrived as an impressive display that took up the entire plate, leaving no room for the accompanying sides of rice and broccoli. Equally impressive was the sauce, served “family style” in a large vessel. The servers recommended either dipping the fish, pouring some on individual plates, or pouring the entire contents directly over the fish. Since the sauce was very spicy, we chose to dip it or pour it on our individual plates to allow each of us to control the level of heat. The servers said the level of spice could have been adjusted during the cooking process if requested. The beautiful whole fish was indeed very crispy, which some found enjoyable while others remarked that they would have liked the fish to be a little moister. But overall, FW&D decided this was the best and tastiest dish of the night.

Crispy Fried Flouder

A close second favorite was truly a fusion dish called Bangkok Jambalaya, a unique combination of Cajun and Thai flavors. The dish consisted of shrimp, chicken, and sausage with onion, bell pepper, garlic, and tomato and fresh basil in a Cajun cream sauce with hint of Thai red curry, served over penne pasta. The sauce was deliciously seasoned and complex—spicy, but not overly hot. Even those of us who don’t normally like spicy food enjoyed the dish because it was so rich with flavor. The basil really accented the Thai twist on this traditionally Cajun dish.

Bagkok Jambalaya (Cajun and Thai Flavors)

Next up was the Cashew Chicken, a more traditional Asian dish with sautéed roasted cashew nuts, garlic, and scallions in a light soy sauce and served with rice. This tasty dish would have stood out on its own, but compared to bold flavors of the other dishes, it seemed a bit mild in comparison. Yet it was definitely enjoyable—in particular the sauce had a nice, slightly sweet taste.

Cashew Chicken

The final dish we sampled was Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice with shrimp, pineapple, bell pepper, dried cranberry, curry powder, and garlic stir-fried with rice and egg. The dish was very hearty but not too heavy. The rice seemed almost delicate, lending the dish a light, fluffy texture. While fried rice tends to be a traditional dish, this version offered a couple of new twists, including delicious sautéed pineapple and dried cranberries, which gave it an unexpected and different quality. The pineapple could have made the dish too sweet, but it was well balanced and nicely seasoned.

Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice

All in all, FW&D enjoyed and would recommend Tommy Thai. The portion sizes were just right, and we nearly finished off all the dishes, leaving no room (unfortunately) to taste the desserts. The service was appropriately quick and the servers were pleasant, adding to the overall experience. If you enjoy well-prepared Thai food and fusion food that blends tastes from a variety of cultures, Tommy Thai is a good place to try.

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