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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

For busy Brandeisians, Baan Thai comes through

Published: September 21, 2012
Section: Arts, Etc.

Baan Thai is a restaurant that many Brandeis students know and love, but for those who have yet to discover one of Main Street’s best restaurants, there are several reasons that make the trip worthwhile.
Baan Thai staff love Brandeis students just as much as the students love Baan Thai. The staff makes ordering incredibly easy, which is helpful in the middle of a tough study session. While menus are not being distributed around campus, students can find the full menu online. Orders can be placed over the phone or online. It should be noted, however, that Baan Thai will only deliver for orders costing more than $15. This minor hiccup is more than compensated for by the fact that the delivery staff will bring you food wherever you are on campus. The staff has made many deliveries to Brandeis over the years, and easily knows the campus as well as students. Customer service at Baan Thai, both at the restaurant and for delivery, is a definite plus.
After the five minute Branvan ride or the 30 minute walk to the restaurant, students will find a pleasant, though slightly generic atmosphere. The eating area is a simple, clean room filled with standard wooden tables and chairs. The only truly interesting aspect of the restaurant is the walls, which are lined with huge mirrors. The restaurant becomes social on weekend nights with Brandeis and Bentley students creating most of the minimal noise. It’s fun to go there with a huge group, especially due to Baan Thai’s willingness to split the check into separate bills for a big group. Many restaurants begrudgingly give large groups separate checks or may even deny the request completely. While it is a pain for restaurants to split the checks, Baan Thai’s staff is always polite and willing to go over the top in order to make their customers’ experience better.
The conveniences and fantastic customer service of Baan Thai, however, wouldn’t mean too much if the food was not good. Thankfully, Baan Thai has some of, if not the best Asian food in the Waltham area. It is worth noting that the food is not cheap. Appetizers are in the three to seven dollar range, the prices of main courses are mainly in the mid to high teens, and sushi will cost between six to 14 dollars per roll. If money is not a pressing concern, then definitely go to Baan Thai, because it will be money well spent.
One of the best meal combinations starts off with an eel avocado cucumber roll, which translates into ten huge pieces of seaweed covered in rice, filled with an equal proportion of the three ingredients. The roll is covered lightly in its own sauce but it’s highly recommended to take advantage of the soy sauce and some of the green wasabi. The avocado is certainly the dominant flavor in the sushi, but the sweet tastes of the fruit and the eel, cucumbers, avocado and sauce work well together, especially when combined with the salty soy sauce and spicy wasabi.
Other popular sushi rolls are the spicy tuna roll and the surprisingly good chicken teriyaki roll. These definitely merit a try if one is a fan of raw fish, or if you are looking for something new and unique. The sushi can easily be substituted by another appetizer, and the dumplings or apple salad come highly recommended. The pork dumplings are standard fare, nothing out of the ordinary but are cooked to perfection and served with a mouth-watering sweet oil. The apple salad, simply a bed of sliced apples with a fresh vinaigrette, is surprisingly one of the most refreshing appetizers at Baan Thai. All of the other appetizers are tasty, except for the soups. While they are the cheapest items on the menu, this is due to the fact that they come in extremely small portions with little flavor. The Rainbow Soup, despite having a fancy name, is the one of blandest substances in the restaurant.
Unlike the soups, the main courses more than complete a satisfying meal. Popular dishes include the curries, which cost around $15 or the noodles or fried rice, which are quite cheap at around $10. The Yellow Curry, which consists of stewed meat or chicken and vegetables in a sweet and spicy coconut broth, is a very enjoyable entree. Each curry is served with a bowl of white or brown rice that soaks up all of the delicious sauce.
The fried rice and noodle dishes are very popular because they are both large portions and fairly affordable. The classic fried rice and Pad Thai are staples at any Thai restaurant, but Baan Thai executes them very well, to the point that they should always be considered an option if the more unique meals are unappealing to a customer. The Pad See Ew, a stir fried wide noodle, is a very popular main course among Brandeis students. The noodles do not veer into unknown territory, but the savory dish of stir fried noodles, meat and vegetables, have become an integral part of many meals at Baan Thai.
If you ever want a delicious study break or want an enjoyable meal on a Friday night in Waltham, then call or head over to Baan Thai. Chances are, you’ll be going more than once.