Rarely is a restaurant like Doctor Who’s Tardis—four feet wide out front, but cavernous inside—unless you’re talking about Ruthai’s Thai Kitchen in Mt. Lookout. Once you get over the initial space-warping, Ruthai’s has that classic Asian-dive feel down pat. For 17 years, Tim and Ruthai Sanphasiri-Tansantikulatt have been serving up Thai treats like the mango fried rice with chicken, beef, pork, egg, peppers, and mangoes in roasted chili paste. Or the posh ginger duck on a bed of vegetables, blanketed in an exquisite sauce. And of course, every Thai place is proud of their curries. If you want to start with something mild, go for the creamy chicken Massaman curry with coconut milk or bump up a notch to a pork yellow curry.
Adventurous diners should try the scallop panang or the spicy red curry beef or shrimp chu chee. Spice fanatics won’t want to miss the soft shell crabs with green curry, laced with those wild, adolescent green chilies. As a rule, don’t ask for curries milder or hotter. Each curry has its perfect heat level for flavor. Let the experts guide you. And if you’re a tofu hater, you’ve got to try their crispy tofu (batter-dipped and served with a sweet and tangy plum sauce) to open your mind. Oh, did I neglect to mention Ruthai’s prowess at sushi? Obviously, that’s another trip in the Thai Tardis.
Ruthai’s Thai Kitchen, 3162 Linwood Ave., Mt. Lookout, (513)-871-7687, ruthaisthaikitchen.com; Lunch Wed-Fri. Dinner Tues-Fri.