Restaurant Features: Bar (Beer & Wine)
Location: White Bear lake, MN
Address: 2186 3rd Street, Suite 111 White Bear Lake, MN 55110 (651) 407-8424
Hours: M-Th 11:30a-9p Fri 11:30-9:30 Sat 12p-9:30p Sun 4-8pm
Links: Ban Thai Website Google Map
Atmosphere: Located in the heart of Downtown White Bear lake, Ban Thai restaurant is just across the street from Washington Square. The dining area of Ban Thai is one big open space, with several simple square tables placed throughout. The lighting was dim, with lamps softly glowing here and there around the room.
Menu: Appetizers at Ban Thai include Fried Wontons, Sri Racha Shrimp in a Blanket, Phuket Fishcakes, Chicken Wings, Chicken or Pork Satay, Thai Fried Tofu, Vegetarian Eggrolls, Rayong’s Famous Eggrolls, Veggie Springrolls, and Fresh Bangkok Springrolls.
Soups and Salads include Thai Style Salad, Spicy Squid Salad, Tom Kha Gai, Tom Yum Goon, Tom Yum Gai, Gang Poh Tak, Chiang Rai Tofu Soup, and Thai Chicken Rice Soup.
Rice & Noodle Dishes include Thai Jasmine Rice, Thai Sticky Rice, Mee Siam, Thai Curry Noodle, Seafood Noodle Soup, Pad See Ew, Sen Yai Lard Na, Pad Woon Sen, Pad Thai, Thai Curry Fried Rice, Thai Fried Rice, and Thai Pineapple Rice.
Ban Thai Entrees include Yellow Curry, Gang Masman Curry, Green Curry, Red Curry, Gang Panang, Laab Khai, Laab Moo, Som Tom (papaya salad), Nua Pad Prik, Tod Kratiam Prik, Pad Med, Pad Khing, Pad Bai Horapa, Pad Kow Pode, Pad Prio Wan, Pad Pak, Pad Prik Khing, Pad Asparagus, Pad Broccoli, and Pra Ram Rong Song.
Specialty menu items include Pla Tord, Pla Tord Rad Prik, Khai Leaw Moo Sab, Ban Thai Khai Yad Sai, Pad Ped Pla, and Pad Ped Talay.
Price guide: Appetizers $4-7 Soups/Salad $4-14 Noodles/Entrees $11-14
What We ordered: My companions and I started with the chicken satay appetizer, which turned out to be a disappointment. The chicken was seasoned with curry and then grilled. I thought the chicken tasted alright but it was slightly dry because the size of each of the four skewered pieces was quite small- together they would not have added up to a full chicken breast. The peanut sauce that was served on the side was different than any peanut sauce my companions and I had tried before, this was curry-based. It had a thin consistency and there was a strong flavor (maybe vinegar?) that overpowered any hint of sweetness from the peanut and coconut. I liked the cucumber salad enough but I wouldn’t order this again.
We also shared the Fresh Spring Rolls, which came in four pieces. The rice paper wraps were filled with thin noodles, fresh lettuce, carrots, beansprouts, mint, and shrimp. Standard spring rolls but they were really good and came with a side of peanut sauce for dipping.
My companions and I each ordered something different so that we could share our dishes. We had the Gang Khiao Wan which is the Green Curry. There were sweet peas, potatoes, zucchini, bamboo shoots, sweet basil, and the meat we chose for this dish was chicken. All of these ingredients were simmered in a sweet delicious broth of coconut milk, green curry and red pepper flakes to make it spicy. I really liked the flavor of the curry broth, but I think I prefer a different combination of vegetables and it could have been a bit spicier for my taste, we ordered a 2-3 on a scale of 1 to 5.
We also had the Pad Thai with Shrimp, which was very good. The skinny rice noodles were stir-fried to a golden brown with homemade Pad Thai sauce, bamboo shoots, onions, egg and approx. six shrimp. It was topped with green onions and peanuts. I thought this dish was very good and had a lot of flavor but the portion was smaller than I expected for $14.
One of my companions ordered the Pra Ram Rong Song which is the usual favorite at Thai restaurants, but the version served at Ban Thai was not a big hit. The presentation of this dish was very nice, with the curry peanut chicken sitting atop a bed of baby spinach. However, the curry peanut sauce was the same used with the satay; it was almost too runny and not very sweet. This was unanimously the least favorite of the three entrees.
Service: Our service was very good, but then again it was late on a Tuesday evening and we were just about the only guests eating that late. Our server was the owner of the restaurant and she was very nice and answered questions we had about the menu.
Overall Impression: Most of the Thai food at Ban Thai was good, but not nearly as good and more expensive than as the other Thai restaurant in the area, Wild Ginger (aka Sam Thai Cuisine which I LOVE!). I had been wanting to try Ban Thai since they opened but now that I have tried it, it may be a long time before I visit again.