When Chow Thai opened its ornate doors in 1995, it was certainly the most glamorous independent restaurant in Addison. At that time, most Thai food lovers sought out small mom-and-pop spots in the suburbs. Only Royal Thai in Old Town offered a glitzy atmosphere. Sixteen years later, the colorful and elegant space at Chow Thai is still one of the lovelier restaurants in the area, but some of the dishes I’ve loved in the past have gone a little bland. Perhaps they are listening to their customers who don’t have adventurous palates, but recently I had to ask for more spice on two of the three entrées we ordered. A shredded green papaya salad was a picture-perfect composition of chopped garlic, green beans, halved cherry tomatoes, and whole peanuts. Nua nam tok, a classic Thai grilled beef salad, suffered only from the lack of a strong kick from chiles. The crunchy cool greens collided with the warm sliced beef dressed with lime and mint, but I had to pour half a bowl of chile vinaigrette on the top to get a sweat going. However, the yellow curry with chicken and a hint of coconut milk was an aromatic dish with a flavor even I wouldn’t fool with. The warm, sticky sweet rice with sliced fresh mango is nice by itself, but it takes on a whole new meaning by adding a spoonful of the tempura toasted coconut ice cream.
For more information about Chow Thai, visit our restaurant guide.