Final Grade: A
The other night I got the chance to try out a new restaurant, get together with two of my best friends, and get out of my little town of South Amboy on a Friday evening. The place we dined at was Thai Chef, a fairly well known Thai restaurant that has locations in Somerville, Hackensack, and Montclair. As both a BYO and reputable establishment, it provided a great venue and menu for us to experience.
The Bloomfield Avenue location is quite large, well-decorated, and brightly lit. The tables and rooms offer guests ample space and tranquility to escape to on any given night. In the summer, although we are sadly quite far from that now, there is an open patio for diners to sit and enjoy the warm weather. The wait staff was cordial and seemingly well experienced. We were seated right away even on a Friday and were given plenty of time to look over the vast menu, ask some questions, and consider the nightly specials.
We decided to start with a combination appetizer for two ($16). Now I know we were a party of three, but after asking our waitress if the “for two” plate was large enough for us to split, and her responding affirmatively, we went with the smaller portion. This was a wise decision, as the plate was generously filled with chicken satay, Thai Chef dumplings, spring rolls, and Mee Krob. The standouts of the platter were the dumplings and satay. The delicately wrapped dumplings were stuffed with shrimp and pork, then topped with fresh crab meat and served with a caramel vinaigrette. They were succulent while exploding with richness and flavor. The satay, more on the simple side, were a great counter to the rich dumplings and crispy fried spring rolls. The kebobbed pieces of marinated chicken were incredibly tender and placed in a perfect amount of peanut sauce that did not overwhelm nor understate the poultry.