Mai Thaiku

Written by on October 23, 2014 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle, Washington


How I heard of this place: Two of our good friends have made this their go-to restaurant of the year. A short distance from their home, they have sampled nearly everything on its menu and kept detailed notes of each dish. They talk about it every time we see them, so this was our way of getting them off our backs to try the place out. But now we know why they kept pestering us about it.

Thaiku Kitchen Props

Type of cuisine: Our new menu emphasizes traditional food found every day in street markets across Thailand. But, not to worry. We have kept many of your favorites dishes. And if you don’t see your particular, old favorite on the new menu, just ask, and we will accommodate.

Thaiku Kitchen

Ambiance: Tucked away, nestled among the courtyard trees, Thaiku’s lit sign welcomes patrons through its hidden doorway.

Thaiku Patio

Inside, the mini bar to our right is decked out in Halloween ware,

Thaiku Entry

but we are rushed past by our hostess,

Thaiku Bar

and escorted to our seats in the middle of the L-shaped restaurant dining space.

Thaiku Dining Street-Facing

Tastefully decorated with old apple crates filled with ornamental decor,

Thaiku Dining Facing Kitchen

a mini gas fireplace,

Thaiku Fireplace

and mostly barren walls,

Thaiku L-Shaped Corner

the tile-front kitchen is open to view and interaction with the evening’s cooking staff. Dim-lit, calming, yet bustling with the sounds of happy diners, Thaiku is a true Thai oasis in Phinney Ridge.

Thaiku Entryway Decor

What I ordered: The five of us dining at Thaiku this evening were not spared from any of our friends favorite dishes – nor were we spared any amount on the five-way-split bill, which was devoured solely by the two of them (minus a sample bite here and there)! To start, they each ordered their own appetizers, including the Gai Satay ($2/skewer): yellow curry and coconut milk marinated chicken with peanut sauce and cucumber salad,

Thaiku Gai Satay

Sua Rong Hai/”Crying Tiger” ($8): grilled marinated flank steak with spicy dipping sauce,

Thaiku Sua Rong Hai/Crying Tiger

Nohm Dok Neua ($11): grilled flank steak, shallots, mint, green onion, cilantro, roasted rice powder, chili flake, lime dressing,

Thaiku Nahm Dok Neua

and Mieng Kahm ($10): fresh ginger, lime, chili, red onion, peanuts and toasted coconut to wrap in bai cha plu leaves;

Thaiku Mieng Kahm

not to mention the singly enjoyed beverage, Palm ($3.50), with its sweet and refreshing tambre. We were given the option of choosing our own meals, with eager persuasion, which included the Kua Gling ($12): beef in a sauce of galangal, lemongrass, chili and shallot, with fresh cucumber, green beans, jasmine rice,

Thaiku Kua Gling

and Khao Soi ($12): fresh and crispy fried egg noodles in yellow curry, coconut milk with chicken, pickled mustard greens.

Thaiku Khao Soi

For them, Pahd See Iew ($11): fresh wide rice noodles wok fried in sweet soy with gai lan and sliced pork,

Thaiku Pahd See Iew

and Pahd Thai ($12): rice noodles wok fried in tamarind sauce, with prawns, bean sprouts, garlic chive, peanuts, tofu.

Thaiku Phad Thai

For dessert, while one enjoyed every last bite and we were granted mere samples of each flavor, we were not given a choice in ordering the trio of house-made coconut ice creams: spicy ginger, thai tea, and coconut.

Thaiku Ice Cream Trio

On a return visit, Saturday, 12 March 2016We returned with two of our friends introducing them to the deliciousness that is Mai Thaiku! On this visit, we started with one order of Lahb ($9): ground pork, with shallot, green onion, cilantro, mint, roasted Thai Chili, rice powder and lime,

Mai Thaiku Lahb

two orders of Het ($2 per skewer): marinated and grilled mushroom skewer with roasted shallot sauce,

Mai Thaiku Mushroom Skewer

one Mee Grob ($8): crispy rice noodle, tofu, chive, bean sprouts, tiny dried shrimp and house sweet and sour sauce.

Mai Thaiku Mee Grob

and one Makua Yow ($6): Chinese eggplant with roasted shallot sauce.

Mai Thaiku Stuffed Eggplant

Our main entrées included two orders of vegetarian Pahd Thai with tofu ($13) and one with chicken ($13): rice noodles in tamarind sauce with bean sprouts, garlic, chive, and peanuts,

Mai Thaiku Phad Thai with Chicken

and one Kua Gling ($12): beef in a sauce of galangal, lemongrass, chili and shallot, with fresh cucumber, green beans and jasmine rice.

Mai Thaiku Kua Gling

What I loved: Of the appetizers, though granted only one taste, it was the Sua Rong Hai/”Crying Tiger” that best captured texture, flavor and intrigue. Of the main entrees, I would regularly order the Kua Gling, followed by the Pahd See Iew for the sweeter-tastebud callings and the Pahd Thai for an all-around tasty and filling dish. Between the three ice creams, the thai tea was the lightest in flavor, including the usual sweetness found in the beverage form, the coconut my favorite, and the spicy ginger an exciting jolt right at the end of a bite.

Thaiku Menu & Water Jug

Why I loved it: Reminiscent of a quick and easy dining establishment one might only find in a Thailand market, the space is clean, welcoming, and quirky in all the right ways.

Cost: Low to average ($9 – $14 per entree)

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