Before I start telling you about my first visit to No Thai, I should explain that I am completely head over heels in love with Thai food. I love everything about it. The (usual) freshness of ingredients, the mixture between heat and coconut milk, and especially the heat. If you walk into a Thai restaurant and tell them to make it extra spicy, the chef takes it as a challenge to his manhood. If you want it extra spicy, he’s not going to throw another drop of hot sauce on your food, he’s going to make it a fiery oblivion to make sure that you never challenge him ever again.
Just for the record, my favorite Thai in the area is served at TupTim in Ypsilanti. For the longest time, Blacked out Sarah had been raving about this place in Ann Arbor called No Thai!. For some reason, I never made it out to give it a shot. Looking back, I think it might have been the name. Why would anyone open up a Thai restaurant and call it No Thai!? It always confused me. I wouldn’t open up an Italian restaurant and call it No Italian!. It might confuse people and make them think I was serving authentic Mexican food but making an attempt to be humorous with the name. For this, I took to their website for an explanation. It goes as follows..
This epic story begins on a cold winter day in February of 2005. On that fateful day, four close friends united to form a pact to bring a modern Thai restaurant to the University of Michigan campus. So the fellowship began, each person would bring to the table their own unique set of abilities. Ultimately, one partner, Noerung “No” Hang, rose above the rest to become the head chef, and so the restaurant came to be known as “No Thai!”. This name would come to bring amusement, confusion, and intrigue to the masses, but now you know No Thai!, or do you?
So it started making sense in those not making sense at all kind of ways. Regardless, I love Thai food and I decided to make a trip with Blacked out Sarah to experience this food she had been raving about for so long.
No Thai(i’m sick of adding the exclamation mark) is kind of like the fast food of Thai restaurants, and in no way am I trying to badmouth the place by saying that. If you’re an ethnic food snob, you’ll probably have a great time badmouthing the place to anyone who is willing to listen. I, for one, am not. It’s not incredibly authentic and the ingredients don’t taste terribly fresh, but they’re not advertising incredibly authentic food made with terribly fresh ingredients. It’s a Thai restaurant that offers quick service and anywhere from above average to solid Thai food. To me it’s a fun, light interpretation of Thai cuisine using basic Thai principles and dishes as it’s basing point. As the website clearly states, it’s a modern approach on Thai food.
In my opinion, No Thai is a great place to visit if you like Thai food and don’t require an incredibly authentic experience every time you dine out. You might call me a hypocrite for saying this when I trash Tios Mexican Cafe every chance I get, but if you do I just have to say that you’re kind of dumb. Tios is an incredibly Americanized version of Mexican food that completely destroys the very idea of Mexican cuisine, while No Thai gives you a basic idea of Thai cuisine, that in my opinion, leaves you with a very positive outlook on Thai food in general. It’s like the farm system of Thai food that gets you prepared for the big leagues.
I went with the Potato Curry with Chicken, which is described as Cubed potato, white onion, & bell pepper in our curry sauce. I got it at Yoga Flame spice level, which is the second hottest you can request. I didn’t dare choose the Dim Mak, for reasons I explained earlier. I paid $8.50 and got a very nice portion of what looked like a pretty tasty looking dish. Not bad so far.
The food was solid, not great, which I expected. The meat was tender, the potatoes were delicious(by far the best part of the dish), the vegetables were somewhat fresh tasting, and the “curry sauce” added nice flavor. I was disapointed with the heat of the dish, but I really didn’t expect to have my tongue burned off. I actually ended up adding Sriracha to this which did the trick.
All in all, not bad. Exactly what I would expect from a plate of $8.50 Thai food. If you’re into Thai food but don’t feel like paying $13-15 bucks per plate, check out No Thai. Just don’t walk in there expecting to have a little Thai baby Jesus on your plate. You might be a little disappointed.
1317 S. University
Ann Arbor, MI 48104