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The family and I were craving something new, light and fresh this evening.  In my mind, this called for Thai food.  So, we scurried over to the nearest place to our home, Thai Kitchen in Cave Springs.  Although I’d passed it many times, this was the first time we’d been in.  We were promptly seated, and our drink orders were taken.  Although I am trying to stay light*, I cannot resist Thai iced tea.

*We have a family wedding coming in a couple of weeks, and I need to fit into some pants.  Summer has not been kind to the waistline.  Also, I have learned this summer that the waist measurements for shorts and dress slacks are far different.  I think whoever sizes shorts is just trying to make people feel good about themselves over the summer.  Dress pants and their waist measurements are a harsh reminder of the real world.

We also ordered a small appetizer to share, the Crying Tiger.  Soon my Thai iced tea arrived and I took an eager sip.

Heaven.  A couple of things to note here.  First, this was the smallest Thai iced tea I’ve ever ordered in a restaurant, being served in a tall, thin glass.  However, I do believe it was also the sweetest Thai iced tea I’ve ever had.  I loved the creamy, coconut flavor.  It did not make it to the main course.

After a bit of a wait, our appetizer arrived.  The Crying Tiger had several pieces of savory beef, served with a lemongrass dipping sauce.  The beef was tender and moist with a bit of spice, but the lemongrass sauce was the star here.  Light, with a slightly grainy texture, it cooled the spicy heat of the beef and had a mild citrus tang from the lemongrass.

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After another wait, our main courses arrived.  I had the Spicy Beef Salad, served at the “Very Hot” level of spiciness.  It was true to its word.  The strips of grilled beef were very spicy, but were cooled by the fresh cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and onions on the plate.

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The lovely wife had the yellow curry with tofu, served at the “mild” level.  I also had several bites of this dish, and the grilled tofu paired nicely with the mildly spiced, coconut based sauce.  It was a pleasant blend of sweet, savory, and spicy.  One of the things I love about tofu at Thai restaurants is how the spices get absorbed, imparting a burst of flavor to an otherwise bland blob of protein.

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Finally, the wonderful son had chicken and fried rice.  Interestingly, his meal was ENORMOUS, while the wife and I had reasonable sized meals.  As a matter of fact, my beef salad was rather small, in comparison to some I’ve had at other restaurants.  As I’m trying to keep it light, that wasn’t a bad thing this evening.

Overall, we had a nice time.  However, two things did dampen my enthusiasm a bit. First, the portion sizes were a bit hit or miss. I’m not sure why my son’s entree was so large, and mine so small. Also, I will say that the service was a bit slow, and we waited a fair amount of time for our appetizer and main courses, even though they did not seem terribly busy.  But, as my six year old son said while waiting for our entrees,  “When you’re making it fresh it can take a while.”

Really, those are words to remember.  You’re not at McDonalds or a dubious looking Chinese buffet.  I think the reason I love Thai restaurants so much is that it all seems so fresh.  I definitely got that feeling from Thai Kitchen.  The veggies were all colorful and crisp, sauces and curries delightfully spiced.

So if you’re looking for something different in the St. Charles area, give Thai Kitchen a try. (Easy pun resisted for the conclusion!  Score one for self-restraint!)

Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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