Thai Fresh is a great little restaurant in our neighborhood that we really don’t get to enough. It opened up a few years ago as a deli-like restaurant, where you ordered prepared food from a deli case, which was heated and brought to you. The food was really good then.
Now it’s even better. A while back, Thai Fresh’s owners, Jam and Bruce, began having their food cooked to order. The menu has expanded to include lots of Thai favorites, with a focus on using locally grown ingredients as much as possible. They’ve had such success over the last few years that they’ve expanded their space into what was formerly a three-business building. Now it houses just Thai Fresh and its coffee-shop extension, Thrice.
Matt and I went for dinner a couple of weeks ago and had an excellent meal. To start, I had a wonderfully refreshing lime-basil agua fresca, while Matt enjoyed a Buckethead IPA from Thirsty Planet.
And to eat, I had Pad Sea Ew. One of my favorite Thai dishes, it’s made with wide rice noodles, crunchy and slightly bitter Chinese broccoli, fried egg, and sweet soy sauce. They key here is to get the noodles really caramelized in the sweet soy sauce, and Thai Fresh’s version gets some really nice charred spots on them. And, while I usually go for spicy dishes when I eat Thai food, the Pad Sea Ew is rich and dark-tasting, with lots of umami flavor that alternates with the slightly sweet and slightly bitter Chinese broccoli.
Matt’s go-to is Pad Kee Mao, a spicy dish made with rice noodles, mushrooms, sweet peppers, and lots of spicy chilies. His was spicy and rich, with a really fresh flavor. The still-crunchy veggies added a nice crispness to the noodles.
The cafe itself is warm and cozy, and Jam, Bruce, and the staff make guests feel really welcome. There are couches to hang out on, and books and board games to browse. There’s also often live music on the Thrice side in the evenings, which can make the cafe a great place for an evening out.
909 West Mary Street
Austin, TX 78704