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Quite Njoyable

Montrose gets a new "comfort" Thai restaurant.

Perhaps the reason the service is so friendly is that the restaurant itself is a close-knit Thai family: Belle, who runs the front of the house; her daughter, Awoon, who waits tables; Belle's brother, Patrick, who makes the food — all are present every day, with big smiles waiting for each customer.
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That not-quite-spicy-enough larb was the only thing that let me down recently at an otherwise great lunch, which is the most inexpensive time to visit what's already a pretty inexpensive restaurant. Lunch specials are between $6.95 and $7.95 and — as with any good Thai place — come with spring rolls and soup. In this case, the soup is a wonderfully tangy-and-sour example of tom yum with vibrant punches of galangal and ginger. The broth is thick with pert oyster mushrooms, pieces of chicken and lime leaves that infuse a bright citrus flavor into the whole thing.

Massamun curry comes in a large, deep bowl, brimming with the velvety curry and its peanut-laced sweetness that's almost too rich to eat without large spoonfuls of jasmine rice. And a beautiful dish of pad prik king is festively adorned with dark green and ruby-red bell peppers amid slices of green beans and gently sautéed onions.

Made with care and fresh ingredients: pad prik king.
Troy Fields
Made with care and fresh ingredients: pad prik king.

Location Info

Map

Njoy Thai Restaurant

212 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Montrose

Nidda Thai Cuisine

1226 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77006

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Montrose

Khun Kay Thai Cafe

1209 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77019

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: River Oaks

Thai Sticks

4319 Montrose
Houston, TX 77006

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Montrose

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday
Tod mun pla: $6.95
Larb: $9.95
Som tum: $7.95
Pad thai: $10.95
Pad kee mao: $11.95
Pad prik king (lunch): $6.95
Massamun curry (lunch): $7.95
Thai sweet rice: $6.95

READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Njoy Thai: Quite Enjoyable
BLOG POST: Enjoying Comfort Food, Thai-Style, at Njoy Thai

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The ground chicken in the pad prik king is the same as you'll find in the larb but seasoned far more aggressively, the striking tell-tale notes of red curry throughout: musky cumin, punchy galangal and lemongrass, briny shrimp paste, sharp garlic and shallots. I think — although I'm not certain — that Njoy may make their curries from scratch, too, because I always catch flavors I wouldn't expect in them. In the case of the red curry, it's a flowering hint of anise or fennel that adds a final deft note to the dish.

And although I hadn't saved room in previous visits for dessert, I was glad that lunchtime visit that I did: Sticky rice was topped with thickened coconut milk, barely sugary, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. And draped on top were a few fat slices of caramel-sweet custard, bringing just the right lift to the dessert without making it overly saccharine — my ideal way to end a meal. Also ideal: the to-go boxes that Francisco had carefully packed for me, the rest of the smooth, nutty massamun curry and vegetable-laden pad prik king destined to make yet another comforting meal at home.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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6 comments
juniperala
juniperala

@HoustonPress whatever. I love Khun Kay. And it's two blocks from home.

omasgoodies
omasgoodies

@HoustonPress ...HELP!! Out of Work! Laid Off! SELLING Awesome Homemade Cheesecakes $25-$40. Oma's Goodies on Facebook

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Great review, must try them soon. I loathe niddha with a passion; and khun kay's only saving grace is their tom kah soup (shrimp) and cheap fried rice.

opinions_ultd
opinions_ultd

@juniperala Yeah it's two blocks from me too, the chicken tastes like wood, the curries a runny mess, order something delivered it's slop.

juniperala
juniperala

@opinions_ultd never had the curry or the chicken - I stick to noodles, soup, or tofu.

 
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