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Toys Cafe in Dallas - Thai - A review.


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Toys Cafe in Dallas - Thai - A review.

ychromosome | Feb 13, 2009 04:52 AM

Last night my partner and I had some great food, and I thought I'd share the experience. We ate at Toys Thai food, located at 4422 Lemmon Ave. It's not in a fancy building, in fact, it's a hole in the wall in an old strip center, but it was clean and the food was EXCELLENT! Toys is the name of the proprieter, a little Asian lady with a quick smile and a warm disposition. She used to be in one half of the building, but when the store next door moved out, she expanded her restaurant to fill the space. It's still not large by any stretch of the imagination, being about as big as a small Pizza Hut inside. Tables are small, shiny, wood-grained laminate, and the chairs are the sort you see at church socials, the stacking metal-framed sort with padded seats. Not uncomfortable, but you're not going to want to sit there for hours chatting over tea.

But interior decor isn't why a foodie goes to a restaurant, is it? In short, the food met my single criterion that defines "good eating" - it was much better than I could have made at home for the same price.

Prices were very low for Dallas. My pad thai noodles with tofu was about ten bucks, My friend's chicken and noodles with spicy brown sauce was twelve. Fresh rolls, composed of nothing more than shredded iceberg lettuce in rice paper wraps and served with a delicious (if a bit thin) peanut sauce were three-fifty, which seems a bit steep for what they are, but I begrudge them nothing since the menu described them precisely. The peanut sauce was so good, we kept the remains to garnish our main course!

My companion first ate there for lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago, and although he ordered it three stars hot (out of four), it came out spiced more appropriately for a nursing home. I guess they either misunderstood him last time, or maybe they just lighten up the spice for lunch so lightweight Dallas businessmen can crow that they eat "Four-star-hot" Thai food. Whatever, my friend's three-star chicken dish was PLENTY spicy! When Toys took our order, I told her that he wanted to sweat but not cry, and she took me very seriously! The food they put on the table was exactly that hot. I'm glad my tofu was only two stars or I'd have to consider putting a fire extinguisher in my bathroom.

Although the heat was there, it wasn't the immediate, punishing heat that can distract one from appreciating a subtle and complex flavor. It built over time, in the way that masterful Thai food manages to do. I don't think I could reproduce the sauce at home without considerable experimentation. It had a character of brown bean and hoisin, but was sweeter and....toastier, perhaps? Dark, yet not thick. Truly wonderful, and I'd recommend it without reservation to any foodie friend.

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