I’ve been craving Thai for awhile and this place is very near my parents’ house, so I see it all the time. I was surprised by the crowd in there when we walked in even though it wasn’t yet noon. I also spied the specials board on my way in had a special of sautéed eggplant in a basil ginger sauce, which when chicken is added, tends to be one of my favorite things. So I asked our friendly, if not a bit harried, server if I could add chicken and he said yes for an additional charge. So that is exactly what I did.
Lunch specials at Jasmine come with either a fried spring roll or soup, so hubby got the spring roll and I got the soup. The spring roll was fine, nothing unique really. Pleasantly crispy with that slightly sweet, slightly tangy, slightly spicy sauce that Thai restaurants usually serve with fried items (which I should note I really like better than that thick, overly sweet, overly pink sauce you get at most Chinese places with fried things.) The soup was also very basic—a chicken broth with a few veggies—carrots and potatoes I think, and a bit of cilantro and some big hunks of black pepper. Nothing complicated about it, but it was fine.
What I didn’t realize, was that the eggplant dish was a special, but not a lunch special, so it was larger and more expensive than the lunch combos, but after eating it I didn’t care. I really liked this dish a lot. The eggplant was cut into nice bite sized pieces, which were nice and soft, and all thoroughly coated in the basil flavored sauce. I asked for it medium as far as spiciness, but I would say it was hotter than medium, but not totally over the top. The chicken in my dish, as well as hubby’s, was perfectly cooked and while extremely thin pieces of chicken breast, they were not tough or chewy at all. On a subsequent visit (which I had a week later because I couldn’t stop craving this dish), the quality of ingredients were just as good, although this time when I ordered it “medium,” it was slightly underspiced. So I guess that part just may be the luck of the draw. However, obviously, what the server told me was true, and this must be a common special because they had it both times.
Hubby had the Pad See-Eiw. This is one of his perennial favorite Thai dishes. This was not bad, but not as good as many we have had. It is flat rice noodles stir fried with eggs, chicken, and various veggies, including cabbage and broccoli. The sauce is described as a Thai soy sauce. To me, even though he also ordered it medium, all you could taste in the dish was the heat. It was too spicy to really taste any other flavor. The cabbage was nice, although I thought the broccoli was undercooked. Again, the chicken was perfectly cooked.
All in all, while I might not order what hubby got again, I really enjoyed my dish. I would happily order any of the dishes with a variation of the basil sauce that was on that eggplant. But if they keep having this dish as a special the next time I go, I can tell you, I’ll probably have to order it yet again.
Jasmine Thai Restaurant
4825 East 96th Street