Hubby has been unhappy since we moved to Philly because he can’t find decent Thai food. He adores Pad Kee Mao so much that he actually craves it. We have tried several Thai places since moving, but they have not been as good as we like and thus I didn’t want to blog about them. However, Chatayee Thai in Center City Philly is good. I think they just moved and thus explains why we only now found them. Hubby made a reservation online and we headed straight there!
Chatayee Thai is a bit challenging to find because Google Maps still lists their previous location across the street and there is almost no signage for the restaurant.
The menu is posted, a small logo on the doors, and there is a sandwich board. That’s it! Maybe a larger sign is forthcoming. Upon walking in, the space tries to be fancy with chandeliers and artwork. And some fresh fruit as decoration.
The best part about arriving? Sitting down to a separate vegan menu without even asking for it! Everyone seated got the vegan menu in addition to the non-vegan menu.
We were so excited! We ordered Tod Mun Puk and Tofu Satay to start. The Tod Mun Puk was delicious! Eggplant medallions smothered in yummy. The Satay was good too, but overshadowed by the eggplant (said no one ever, but it’s true!).
Then we each ordered the Pad Kee Mao. The dish automatically comes with vegetables and tofu! If unfamiliar with ordering this dish, it often comes with only one or the other and we have to order the other extra. It was good. Not great, but good. The noodles were a bit soggy and as a traditionally spicy dish, it was not as flavorful as we appreciate. We did order the dish mild, but there was no kick at all. As a bonus, we did enjoy the extra raw veggie garnish. I bet many people leave behind the raw cabbages and carrots, but we scarfed them down.
Normally this would be the end of our meal. Thai restaurants rarely have dessert we can get excited about. Sometimes sorbet will be available, but we skip that. Not at Chatayee Thai. There were several options!
We decided to try the Ka Nom Mun and the Sweet Rice of the Day, which was dragon fruit. We were not disappointed! The sweet rice was almost too sweet, but a natural sweetness, not a sugary sweetness. And the sweet pie was very mild as we expect from traditional desserts.
Chatayee Thai gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. Several dishes we tried were wonderful and the space seemed clean. However, our server, though attentive at the beginning of our meal, seemed to want to get us out of the place by not offering dessert. We politely asked for dessert menus and then everything else was very slow. In the restaurant business, extras like dessert tend to the be money makers and servers are trained to push them (I was once a waitress). I was surprised to feel more like a burden than a guest after finishing our entrees.
We will absolutely return to Chatayee Thai and maybe the service will be better. What’s the saying? You only get one change to make a first impression.