Thai-namite: A Great Fit for Brady Street
Moderately priced Asian fusion in a fun setting
in a recently renovated building on Brady
Street, features a new interior (though the name
of a previous occupant, the Astor Market, appears at the entryway). Cool-green
walls and jet-black tabletops enhance the modern look. All of the tables are
near large windows, and the sushi bar sits in the center.
The menu, which is
large considering the smaller size of the restaurant, meanders between Thai and
Japanese. The Japanese fare consists of sushi, sashimi, a few appetizers and
two soups. The entrees are all of the Thai variety.
Among the starters,
crispy squid ($6) falls right in the middle. The scored pieces of squid in a
light flour batter could almost pass as tempura. Dip them in the sweet plum
sauce. Gyoza ($5), lightly fried pork dumplings with a thin dough wrapper, are
just right. These little gems, pure Japanese in style, are served with a
sweetened soy sauce. Fish cakes ($6), on the other hand, are pure Thai. The small
cakes have their definitive springy texture, and a condiment of cucumber, red
onion and peanuts with sweet vinegar comes on the side. The vegetarian pair of
spring rolls ($3) offers fresh rice paper sheets filled with tofu, a bit of
fried egg, rice noodles and some carrot. But it is the hint of fresh coconut
that makes these special.
The Thai items tend
to be sweeter rather than hot and spicy—gentle Thai, for the most part—but the
spicy squid salad ($7) manages to be both. Tender pieces of squid with onions,
scallions, fresh mint and a sauce of sweet shrimp with lemongrass come with
just enough chile pepper to qualify as spicy. A mound of crispy rice noodles
arrives on the side. It’s a nice dish, though it’s sweeter than the normal
squid salad. Cucumber salad ($3) is nice, simple Japanese fare, thin pieces of
cucumber with slivers of red radish and sweet vinegar.
Among the soups is
the Thai staple of tom yum shrimp ($4). Yummy it is, with shrimp in a broth
that is tart with lime juice and seasoned with lemongrass and other spices.
There are straw mushrooms and chopped scallions, but the best addition is fresh
tomato that revels in the broth. All that is missing is a bit of galangal.
The sushi selection,
featuring the usual cast of seafood, is a good one. Some of the specialty maki
sushis have local names like the Astor, Brady and Milwaukee rolls. Those who choose to boycott
the increasingly over-fished bluefin tuna will find many other options. Several
of the rolls use what is described as super white tuna. It is found in the Oreo
roll ($9), a black and white version in which the green seaweed wrapper is
hidden because it is a reverse roll. The white tuna is rolled with cooked
shiitake mushrooms while the outer rice is dusted with black tobiko. The
mushrooms dominate, while the tobiko adds more crunch than flavor.
Thai entrees offer
the typical noodle dishes, curries and volcano chicken. Thai-style ribs ($12)
are pork ribs in a sweet Thai barbecue sauce with hints of garlic. The tasty
ribs are served over steamed asparagus.
One specialty is
Thai-namite curry ($12), with chunks of beef and potato, onion and whole
cashews in a mild Massaman curry sauce (Massaman curry comes from the south of Thailand). It
is served with triangles of roti, a flatbread made for dipping in the curry
sauce. While the potatoes and carrots are properly cooked, the beef simply
cannot overcome its toughness—the only flaw in this nice curry.
A better choice is
the rad nar ($9), a dish of wide noodles with onion, Chinese broccoli, a choice
of meat, and gravy sauce. White meat chicken proves much wiser than the beef.
Tiny pieces of fried egg make the gravy rise above the versions found in most
appears to be receptive to Thai-namite. And the Japanese and Thai items seem
equal in popularity. The service is good enough and the kitchen and sushi bar
are efficient. Alcoholic beverages are available, though they are limited to a
very basic selection of beer, wine and sake. This is the type of place that
works so well on Brady Street.
The food is good enough, the prices are moderate and it’s just a fun place to
932 E. Brady St.
Credit Cards: MC, VS