Thai for Two

I ate lunch yesterday at Sukhothai (8102 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, 513-794-0057), tucked in a little grove of ethnic restaurants and other shops off Montgomery Road called The Market Place of Montgomery. A relatively nondescript white space, it’s clean and does show some perfunctory Thai decorating accents.

We started with a cup of fragrant Chicken Coconut Soup ($1.50), the milky broth studded with chunks of chicken breast, sliced mushroom and hints of herbs (lemongrass and Thai basil maybe?). It was sublime. Our spring roll ($1.25), on the other hand, came wrapped in a surprisingly doughy outer shell; crisp and not greasy, it still lacked the delicacy one would expect. The filling was quite good, though.
My wife’s tofu in a mild yellow curry ($5.75) was a substantial portion of food, with chunks of pineapple tossed in with a mélange of vegetables. I asked for my tofu in red curry ($5.75) to be made with a bit more heat, and, with its disks of thinly sliced Asian eggplant and fresh vegetables, it didn’t disappoint — I felt the pleasantly persistent tingling of spice for some time after finishing my meal. Both entrées were accompanied by enormous mounds of rice, perfect for soaking up the lakes of curry sauce in which they were served.
While I drank water with lunch, they did have Singha ($3.25), the full-bodied, best-selling Thai lager, on the menu — as well as a surprise: Penner-Ash Rubeo ($38/bottle), a very non-traditional blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Over the years, unscrupulous winemakers in Burgundy have been accused of secretly adulterating their Pinot Noir with Syrah from the Rhône Valley to give the wines more fruit and structure in weak, under-ripe vintages. Penner-Ash is more upfront about their blending. An excellent producer, they use grapes from younger vines (i.e., those not ready for their more expensive single vineyard wines) for this bottling, which to me shows more Pinot character on the nose, but the fuller, more structured palate of a Syrah. I like this wine more in theory than in practice, but if you happen to see it around, it’s worth trying once since it’s unlikely you’ll see the same blend around from other sources. (Unless, of course, you make it a habit of buying Burgundies from unscrupulous winemakers in under-ripe vintages.)
All in, with an ice tea and tip, we spent around $20, and felt it was an excellent value for lunch.

— Michael Schiaparelli

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