Most local restaurant review readers are likely to have an acquaintance with Thai cuisine. The spread of Thai restaurants throughout American neighborhoods is considered something of a watermark to gage and comment on the spread of popular food trends. In the Salt Lake Valley, you can see evidence of the popularity of Thai cuisine thanks to that ubiquitous classic noodle dish, Pad Thai, which can be found on many varied menus.
Now about six months old, Thai Aroy-D is one of the latest additions to the city's Thai dining options. The humble restaurant offers a clean and comfortable space with a diner-esque feel, thanks to its padded booth seating and simple decor. As soon as the supremely friendly staff greet and seat you, you'll be more concerned with perusing the menu than critiquing the joint's ambiance.
As with most Thai restaurants, the menu at Thai Aroy-D is expansive, covering appetizers, salads, soups and entrees which encompass everything from curries and stir fries through rice and noodle dishes.
The restaurant is well-suited for any remaining newcomers to Thai cuisine, as standard dishes are served very sedately spiced. Heat-lovers shouldn't worry, as Thai Aroy-D offers a spicing scale of 1 through 5 to ratchet up the heat. Bottles of garlicky Sriracha are on standby, too, when requested.
Entrees are typically offered with a choice of chicken, beef or pork, or for a little extra shrimp or salmon ($2), or with duck or a seafood mix ($4). And most entrees are served with a portion of fragrant, steamed Jasmine rice.
Of the appetizers, the Satay chicken ($6.99) was my pick of the bunch, as these marinated and grilled skewers of pounded-thin chicken breast were one of the juiciest and tender versions I've tasted in town. The five skewers were served with an excellent rendition of thick peanut sauce for dipping. Their gyoza ($5.99) were decent too, five plump dumplings stuffed with pork, seared crispy and served up with a sweet chilli sauce. Fresh rolls ($5.95, $6.95 for shrimp) offer a lighter option to start, wrapping up crisp vegetables like cucumber and carrot in a thick chewy rice paper .
You can find one of my favorite dishes at Thai Aroy-D on the salad portion of the menu. Beef waterfall ($8.99) is a hefty platter of thinly sliced barbecued beef layered over crunchy lettuce, the beef seasoned with oodles of lime juice and pungent fish sauce. Red onions, tons of cilantro, and mint leaves add to a dish that pulls no punches, offering an explosion of in-your-face flavor especially when ordered on the higher end of the spice-spectrum.
Stir-fry dishes left me feeling underwhelmed. Staples like Pad ga prow ($8.99) a saute of meat, bell peppers, onion, and carrots can often be an aromatic, heady affair elevated by herbs like Thai basil, but there wasn't enough flavor here. I felt similarly about Pad priaw wan ($8.99), a sweet-and-sour sauced stir-fry studded with hunks of pineapple, that tasted just ok.
Of the six noodle dishes, Thai Aroy-D's execution of Pad Thai ($8.99) was perfectly acceptable, a mass of rice noodles, onions, egg and bean sprouts topped with an abundance of crunchy peanuts and coated with a sweet, tangy soy-based sauce. Perhaps a little uninspiring, but nonetheless appetizing, was the Rad nah noodles ($8.99) protein, broccoli, carrots and baby corn topped a swarm of wide rice noodles finished in a soy-based sauce.
Minty shrimp salmon ($12.99) was a far more intriguing entree recommended by our waitress, from the "chefs specialties" area of the menu. The salmon is deep-fried leading to an ever-so-slightly crunchy exterior and a buttery-soft interior, topped with a half dozen shrimp and surrounded by a stir fry of bell peppers and onions in a soy rich sauce. Again, the dish's herb flavoring seemed lacking, and though eminently delicious, I didn't find it tasted much like mint.
For me, what really shines at Thai Aroy-D are the fabulous eight curry dishes. Really, it's difficult to go wrong with anything backed by creamy, thick, rich coconut milk, and the restaurant's varying preparations of these colorful Thai curries didn't disappoint. Gang kiaw waan ($8.99) is a super-silky smooth green curry sauce loaded with lime leaves, bell peppers, bamboo shoots and onions, while Massaman curry ($8.99) is a terra-cotta hued gravy packed with potatoes, carrot, peanuts and cashews. Eggplant salmon ($11.99) was a personal highlight, in its mix of bell peppers, onions, eggplant and tender salmon in that luscious red curry sauce.
The name of the restaurant translates as delicious or very good, and that seems fitting especially for the menu's curry dishes. Overall, the prices are fair, and the friendly folks who run the restaurant will ensure your meal is an enjoyable one, whether you're a Thai expert or new to the cuisine's flavors.
Tribune restaurant reviewer Stuart Melling blogs at gastronomicslc.com. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall • HH
Food • HH
Mood • H
Service • HH
Noise • b
A humble Thai eatery that's serviceable for those still seeking to get up-to-speed with now-ubiquitous Thai cuisine. Standard dishes are mildly spiced; plus the restaurant offers wallet-friendly prices and friendly service.
Location • 271 West 900 South, Salt Lake City; 801-359-2275
Hours • Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday noon to 8:30 p.m.
Price • $
Children's menu • No
Liquor • No
Reservations • No
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • No
Onsite parking • Street parking available
Credit cards • All major