Dining In The Wood: Thai Hut

In October 2005, Lakewood dining institution Chinese Village became Thai Hut, with new owners Bunphen and Bunphor Sornlai transforming the Chinese/Vietnamese standby into an authentic Thai oasis seemingly overnight. Similar to Chinese Village, most of their business is lunch and dinner takeout, but the dining room can comfortably seat about 30.

Nearly one and a half years later, they are enjoying an expanded menu, and an ever-expanding clientele: there are plenty of options for diehard Thai foodies, as well as neophytes. Appetizer-wise, their Thai Rolls ($4), crispy spring rolls stuffed with chicken and mixed vegetables, with their sweet-and-sour sauce accompaniment, are a sure temptation for the tastebuds. Their chicken coconut soup, known as Tom Kha Kai ($2.75), is a large portion, defying the small price.

The crispy Pad Thai ($7.95) is an interesting take on the gateway-to-Thai-cuisine dish, with pan-fried noodles combined with chicken, shrimp, peanuts, egg, and bean sprouts. There are plenty of options for those leaning toward the adventurous side, with Beef Panang ($9.95), Pad Kee Mow ($7.95) and Fisherman's Fury ($13.75) cranking the heat. Those with sensitive stomachs, don't worry; they can make it as mild (or as hot) as you'd like.

Their Mix-and-Match section is a build-your-own affair, with several meats, as well as tofu, shrimp, and scallop adding to the mix. Combine that will several vegetable and sauce choices, and you've got yourself a custom meal. Combined with white rice and four curry choices, prices range from $8 to $12.95.

Vegetarians, never fear: Thai Hut aims to please, with 15 choices sure to please your palate. It's a nice mix of spicy and non-spicy dishes, with standouts such as the Tofu Erawan ($8.95) and Vegetable Curry ($8) next to more traditional dishes as the Vegetable Pad Thai ($6.95).

The dining area is comfortable, the staff is extremely polite, and helpful to those new to Thai cuisine. They even have gifts for sale: some imported from Thailand, as well as some items made by the Thai Hut staff.

For those looking for excellent Thai food, but don't want to travel to Ohio City or even Beachwood, give Thai Hut a shot.

Thai Hut, 13359 Madison. 216.228.0110, www.myspace.com/thaihut
Open Monday through Saturday, 11am - 10pm; Sunday 4pm - 10pm. Dine In or Takeout.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 10:20 PM, 03.12.2007