Susieg: Ever hear of Spoletto? Maybe that is why this "gem" was jam packed on a Sunday.
Basil does not take reservations and so we thought if we got there before 7:00 we might not have to wait. Not so much. The restaurant was packed and there was a 20-25 minute wait. When asked if we preferred outside seating to inside we said that it didn’t matter and our time was moved up a bit. While window shopping our way through King Street the phone rang and our table was ready.
We were seated at one of the six four-tops outside the restaurant. Small planter boxes and Tiki torches adorn the patio (and help to keep the bugs away!) I thought it was going to be very warm with the heat wave we’ve been having, but much to my surprise there was a lovely breeze and it was a wonderful way to people watch as we waited for our server to arrive.
Our server was very attentive, but not intrusive. He was easily able to answer questions about the menu and made a few suggestions as well. We ordered our appetizer of Fresh Basil Rolls and continued to peruse the menu.
In sleuthing their website this morning not only is Chef Suntorn an accomplished chef, but he has also traveled the globe. His career started in Bangkok, Thailand and he has worked in England, Paris, United Arab Emirate, Miami, San Francisco and Boston. The site doesn’t say how he landed here in Charleston, but we’re just glad he did.
In a bat of an eye our appetizer arrived and we placed our dinner order. The Fresh Basil Rolls were simple and beautiful. The “house sauce” was a spicy sweet concoction (Chef Suntorn’s house sauce) with ground fresh ginger floating on top. The Basil Rolls were delicate and had an incredible fresh flavor that was only enhanced when dipped in the sauce. I hoped that dinner would be just as good. The website said that all of the dishes and sauces are not made ahead of time but are authentic and made from scratch. We could really taste the difference.
Our entrees arrived after we had finished the Basil Rolls and had a few minutes to relax. Perfectly timed, our server delivered the Pad Thai and Crispy Red Curry Duck.
From the website I learned that Pad Thai is the national dish of Thailand. Who knew? It is rice noodles stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, eggs, bean sprouts, scallions and a Pad Thai sauce. On the plate as a garnish was freshly shredded cabbage, carrots and cilantro with a lime wedge for good measure.
Having lived in Boston for many years and many bad winters the need for “lunch delivered” was paramount. Often times we ordered “Chinese” and there was a Pad Thai option, which in no way even remotely resembled what I was served that evening. My dish, which I asked for a little spicy was exquisite. Not greasy, not oily, with fresh ingredients and a flavor that just jumped off the plate.
My husband is a big duck fan and Basil’s Crispy Red Curry Duck more than met the mark. Listed on the menu as Chef Suntorn’s Signature Dish it was a boneless half duck that is deep fried with vegetables and red curry sauce. It is also served with a small container of freshly steamed white rice that was very, very hot.
The duck was tender and the dish overall was one of the best duck dishes that he’s ever tasted. Both of us were full quickly, but continued to graze a bit before throwing in the towel. I am a tad embarrassed to admit that some of my Pad Thai was a breakfast reheat this morning…
I had originally said that I wanted to scout out Charleston’s hidden restaurant gems when I started my blog. Although based on the crowd and the waiting line, I am late in this discovery, but nonetheless, Basil is a gem. Look for their third location to open in Mount Pleasant this summer. I know we’re looking forward to it.
I enjoyed Basil on my last visit. The Pad Prik was nice and spicy and the soup was cluttered with chicken and had a great coconut hint to it. I will definitely return, and am looking forward to the Mount Pleasant location opening. One thing is for sure, it is rather boisterous in there (in the bad context loud).
We LOVE Pattaya. They make a Chicken Country Soup that heals every cold I get. The atmosphere isn't much but the food is fantastic!!
I brought my friend here to celebrate her bday and introduce her to Thai food and it was perfect! My mom is from Thailand and this food was just like I get from her house or the Buddhist temple she goes to!
We ordered mild Chicken Larb (a ground meat salad over rice) that was so good I couldn't stop eating it even after I was full! It has a lot of cilantro and red onion and comes with cabbage and cucumbers. We also had mild Chicken Pad Thai which was so delicious I didn't even mind the peanuts that I usually don't have on it. For appetizers we had pork spring rolls (they use the best wrapper - rice, not egg) and Chicken Dim Sum that came with a super yummy dipping sauce. For dessert we had sticky rice drizzled with coconut milk and the ripest mango pieces I have seen in a long time.
All of that food came in big enough portions to share AND come away with leftovers and the final bill was about $40. The service was great and I will definitely be bringing my mom there when she visits!
My partner and I went to Tasty Thai last Fall and had a wonderful time. The service was a tad slow but not inattentive and the food was surprisingly good. We picked up a Restaurant.com gift certificate and headed there on 2/22/11. I'm sorry we did. The food was missing key ingredients, the service was a schizophrenic blend of apathetic and combative, the prices far too high, and the music much, much too loud.
I went on Sunday night with a friend, crazy busy, as always it seems. Had some soup and the fried duck, everything was excellent. It is hard to find better Thai food in the area.
We went on a Tuesday evening at about 5:30pm, so the place was not crowded. However, our waitress treated us like she & the restaurant were slammed...she rushed us taking our order & also through the entire meal. In the beginning, when I asked for a recommendation, she said "oh, that's a personal choice." well, DUH, but a good waitress can always tell a customer what dishes are the most popular, or what THEIR favorite is! This waitress also whizzed by & swept our appetizer plate off the table without even asking if we were done. I commented to my boyfriend, "Well, I guess she decided we were done with that!". My garlic chicken was Super Duper UBER garlicky (I love garlic, but WHOA!) & also it was very very salty, so I didnt enjoy it that much. My boyfriend said his basil chicken was decent, but nothing to rant & rave about. The rice in the pot was very dry, like it had been sitting under a heat lamp. This waitress then came by to ask us if we needed anything else, (so...I guess not?!) WHILE whipping out the already printed up bill. After bringing the credit card receipt back, she then came back by the table before we had even left and grabbed the receipt off of the table! We have eaten here before, maybe a couple of years ago, and recalled it being good, enjoyable & affordable, but I believe that things are on the decline....or at least our experience made it seem that way. Bottom line: Rushed service and mediocre food (and about a $50 tab for 2!) do not entice us to make a return trip or recommend it to others.
I had the tom yum koong soup and the nam sod salad with pork, and my boyfriend had the ba mee pad noodles with chicken and a Thai iced tea. Everything was delicious and the service was great, but I took off one star because I think it was a bit pricey ($34). We will definitely return.
Basil chicken sounded good to me. Chopped chicken with onions, bell peppers, and basil over rice. At first I thought they had sprinkled chopped peanuts on top of everything but it was the chicken and vegetables. Their version of chopped is more like minced. Tasty but I could have left my teeth at home.
Craig D, you're talking about Thai House. But Taste of Thai is awesome!!
They have this creamy coconut soup thats very spicy....it is awesome! hot bartender with long blonde hair...
When I think of Basil, two words come to mind: crowded and hot. The crowded part is a plus and a minus, as it's great to busy and popular, but place is a hole in the wall. It was hotter than hell in there, both in terms of temperature and spiciness. But the food is great and above par for what I've eaten in this genre in the US.
I was hesitant at first to try this restaurant because of a bad review by a friend. I probably should not have listened to her (she also thinks Monza has the best pizza in town) because this place is seriously good. If you are a fan of Thai food and don't want to cry over the price tag at Basil up the street then Tasty Thai is the place for you. Lunch is a seriously good deal and you can dial up the heat as much as you want (I've been brave enough to go for the 4 out of 5 level of heat and believe me that will scorch your mouth). The place is huge so you never have to wait for a table and the service is great; I've never had a problem with any of the waitresses. I would recommend the Red Curry, it's my favorite. If you haven't yet, I would head down to Tasty Thai and grab a great lunch at a decent price.However, if you think you are something special and ask for the level 5 out of 5 heat be ready to eat your words: during eating and especially hours later.
Support this restaurant James Islanders! This really is a great place. Quirky? Look past that and try ANYTHING on the menu - you'll be impressed. Better than Basil and it is James Island priced. We have enough bar food and burger joints here - This is GOOD food.
I am tired of Charlestonians thinking that Basil has good Thai food.
They have the best Thai food I have had in town but its nothing special.
Bland if anything. Not saying I don't enjoy it on occasion. I just think it is held in too high of esteem.
This would be a five, as the food is awesome (particularly the red curry crispy duck), but if you are here when it is busy, forget about talking to your tablemates (unless, like some, you decide it's okay to scream to make yourself heard). Maybe some interior modifications to reduce the noise would be a good idea? My significant other and I finally gave up trying to talk and just focused on enjoying the food, which, at Basil, is not a bad option, either. But conversation is such an important part of a meal, it's a shame not to be able to communicate without screaming.
To be fair, we've been to Basil in the early, early evenings when it was not too loud. 10 p.m. on Saturday - forget about it.
We went to Basil last Saturday and were not disappointed. I expected a long wait, but we arrived at about 6pm and got the last available table. Our waiter was very nice and attentive and got drinks out to us right away. The food took a little while, but we didn't mind. I ordered the Red Curry and it was fabulous--just the right amount of heat. Although you could tell a wait was forming, I did not feel pressured to leave as soon as the check was delivered. I can't wait for the Mt. Pleasant location to be up and running in fall 2010! We will be back!
Basil really is the best. I know a lot of people come to Charleston to try lowcountry cuisine, but Basil is absolutely delicious. Just good, traditional, Thai food and good prices. I recommend the curry if you can handle the heat. My wife is a traditionalist and always gets the Pad Thai.
need to update my review from below...they need a hostess ASAP. Service was not so hot last time. Waited 10 minutes just to get a drink order. Didn't get menus for 20 minutes and we didn't get flatware or chopsticks until we asked for it after our food was served. On a good note, the food was great again. They need more help in the front of the house.
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