Yeah – the good news is that we don’t have to drive to Fayetteville or Rogers to dine Thai, and the really good news is that the food here is really good.
The Sihapany family, who are connected with a Taste of Thai in Rogers, Fayetteville and Bentonville, have smartly decided to open up Eureka Springs’ first Thai restaurant, The Thai House.
My partner in crime, Billy, and I checked out the restaurant for lunch Tuesday. Like 75 percent of Eureka’s population, we got excited when we saw the freshly painted chili-pepper-red building with the “coming soon Thai House” sign. Expectations were high, and they didn’t disappoint.
Walking in, the first thing I noticed were several beautiful Thai statues in a pseudo-elegant setting. The second thing I noticed was that I knew everyone sitting in the restaurant.
We were greeted by Don Vichaivattana (try entering that in your iPhone with auto-correct) – the very handsome, can I repeat handsome, waiter/manager who seated us.
I ordered the lunch special – tilapia in garlic sauce, (yes I’m one of those vegetarian hypocrites who sometimes eats “something with a face.”) �Billy had the vegetable red curry with tofu that we shared. Both were delicious, made fresh, and I would have sopped up the garlic sauce if they served anything resembling bread, but that is minor and not very Thai.
Maybe they have experienced too many Gringos who have sent back their meals saying they were too hot, because my 4 out of 5 hot felt like a 2 and Billy’s 5 out of 5 felt like a 2 1/2. Hot chilies on the table helped with the heat.
Probably because their restaurant is 10 miles too close to a church, they still do not have their liquor license, and an ice-cold Tsingtao to wash things down would have really made the meal. We were assured a license is imminent.
To end the meal, Don, the handsome waiter/manager insisted we try the homemade coconut, ice cream – silky smooth and not too sweet, it almost made up for the lack of an ice-cold beer.
But in the end it was really the locals (not a single tourist in sight) that made the dining experience so much fun – table hopping and chit-chatting across from one another had the newly arrived to Eureka Springs staff asking, “Does everyone know each other in town”? It sure seemed so.
Billy tells me that in the olden days (1970s-’80s) if you wanted ethnic food in the area you had two choices: the one Chinese restaurant an hour away in Fayetteville or Mexican at Crystal Mountain, eight miles south of Berryville. Times have changed, in this case for the better, and the addition of Thai food to Eureka Spring’s culinary options is the coconut ice cream on the cake.
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