Restaurant: Thai Tida
Date: July 3, 2015
Location: 236 North Union Street, Lambertville, NJ
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Delaware Valley of late, as you will see by a review of a nearby restaurant in New Hope coming soon. Based on a few visits to this area, I must say, the food is excellent and covers such a wide range of nationalities and flavors. This visit, to Thai Tida in Lambertville, which is right across the river, had me tasting food that was so fresh and authentic that for a second I thought I might have been in Thailand. After a few visits, my friend who brought me had become friendly with the owner, and has raved about this place for as long as I’ve known him. Now that it came time for me to actually try it, the pressure was on. Was all he talked about accurate, or was this going to be a dud? As it turns out, he was right, and the experience here was a home run.
As my friend settled in to a bowl of vegetable soup, the waitress brought over a dish of fried vegetable wontons, which were on the house and a nice touch. They really hit the spot after we had spent the day walking all over Duke Farms in Hillsborough. Just from looking at them I could tell they were homemade. The skins were thin, flaky, and crispy, not thick and chewy like you see in Chinese restaurants. In a way, it was like biting into a pastry, fried golden brown and filled with finely chopped vegetables and a side of sweet chili sauce.
Usually, when I try a new Asian or Indian restaurant, I go with a curry. If you can’t make a good curry, then there’s no reason for me to return. Thai Tida offers five different kinds: Red, Green, Massaman, Pineapple, and Panaeng. I ordered the Massaman, the base being a mild peanut sauce with chunks of potatoes, carrots, and strips of onion. Now, you know me. I love spicy food, so when I was asked what heat level I wanted, I said “very hot”. That’s where the knowledge and helpfulness of the waitress came into play. She looked at my friend and asked, “Can he handle our hot?” to which he replied, “Yeah, I’ve seen him eat some hot stuff before.” Still unconvinced, she explained that their level of spice is higher than what I might be used to, and that she would make it slightly hotter than mild and if that wasn’t strong enough, she could give me an additional hot sauce on the side. A few bites into my meal and I could tell her that no extra sauce was necessary. It ended up being quite hot enough, providing me with a nice sweat and constantly grabbing water, but it was so fresh and flavorful. This curry dish packed a hell of a punch all-around. If I ever went back, I would probably order it again. If my mouth wasn’t on fire, I would have drank down the remaining sauce like the savored final drops of a good soup. My friend’s Pad Thai was also good, as I was able to steal a little bit. The noodles were soft and tender, and the vegetables were fresh and crisp.
For dessert, we tried the fried ice cream. It was the most unique of such I have ever had. It was covered in a thin, dough-like batter that had just the right ratio of chewy to crispy. The ice cream managed to be soft, but not so warm that it turned into a soup. The chocolate and strawberry drizzle that covered it added additional flavor and sweetness. It was almost like eating a doughnut filled with ice cream. Based on this and the wontons from earlier, I can safely say that the chef is an expert in flash-frying. Nothing was ever greasy or under-cooked. It was all perfect.
5 out of 5 stars.