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Restaurant Review: Sukho Thai

5498 College Ave, Oakland. Sound familiar to anyone? That’s the address of Sukho Thai, which is just a block or two down from Pegasus and a few stores before Rockridge Cafe. It’s actually pretty easy to forget about, since I think it’s fair to say that most CPS students keep the same restaurants in their rotation: Barney’s, Cactus, Crepevine, etc. We don’t really stretch our cultural boundaries, food-wise.

However, my friends and I greatly enjoy Thai food, and for a Lafayette-dweller like myself, this little restaurant on College Ave is the most accessible Thai place. I’ve been there three times; I’ll be describing my two most recent visits.

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Sukho Thai is a short walk from Rockridge, it’s never full (none of that waiting stuff! hooray!), and it’s got a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. As the picture on the right displays, various lights softly illuminate the restaurant, which has framed artwork on its walls. Each time I’ve been there, I’ve been seated at one of the tables with comfy booth seats. The restaurant’s ambiance makes for a pleasant dining experience.

Tuesday-Sunday (it’s closed on Mondays), Sukho Thai opens for dinner at 5pm and closes at either 9:30 or 10:00 depending on the day of the week. Happy Hour runs from 5:00-6:30 every day, and it is truly a joy. Dishes drop a few dollars in price and (for the over-21s in your party) drinks, of course, are quite a bit cheaper than at other times.

Perhaps you’re now thinking, “But Grace, what are the specific prices I should be thinking about when I go to Sukho Thai?” Well, folks, I will say that, most of the time, I do find Sukho’s prices to be a bit high for my allowance-fueled budget. When it’s not Happy Hour, appetizers run from 5-10 dollars each. That doesn’t sound so shocking, but it adds up. A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of filling up on appetizers before my Tofu Pad Thai (see below) even arrived. I had ingested about $10 worth of food prior to attacking an $11 meal. The cash in my wallet crooned a parting lullaby as it flew into the hands of Sukho Thai.

However, I do think some of the appetizers are the best things on the menu. Every time I visit the restaurant, I order the following items.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls, $7

These three spring rolls are straight up delicious. They’re deep fried (ah, America), steaming hot when they arrive at the table, and packed with amazingly yummy ingredients. I’ve tasted strips of taro, lettuce, carrot, and other veggies inside—and to be clear, I am not the most vegetable-loving vegetarian you’ll ever meet. In fact, I pretty much won’t touch carrots in any other form except these spring rolls. Now, the rolls by themselves are pretty freaking delectable, but the crowning glory of the dish is, without any doubt, the SAUCE that arrives with it. Words can’t really describe my love for this sauce. You’ve probably had it before: that sweet syrupy stuff with a little bit of chili in it? It’s orangey-red and apparently is plum sauce, if the menu is to be believed. I can’t even with this sauce. I cover everything in plum sauce when I eat Thai food.

Rating: 5/5 

Organic Crispy Tofu, $8 

I love tofu. I’ve always loved tofu. As a self-described “aspiring vegetarian” (i.e., I eat chicken and fish but I avoid beef, pork, and other animals like the plague), tofu has become a staple of my diet. I generally order some kind of fried tofu at any Thai place, and Sukho Thai is no exception. That being said, Sukho’s crispy tofu is…pretty bland. Don’t get me wrong: I know tofu in general is bland, but the last time I went to Sukho, the tofu was straight up disappointing. It wasn’t crispy enough and it had no flavor. It’s also ridiculously priced- around a dollar per piece of tofu; however, that tofu comes with crushed-peanut plum sauce. Oh, plum sauce. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. No matter how heinous Sukho’s tofu becomes, I’ll continue to order it, because IT’S AN EXTRA DISH OF PLUM SAUCE FOR ME. Drowning tofu in plum sauce makes it a pretty excellent appetizer in my book.

Rating: 4/5 with plum sauce, 2.5/5 without

Roti and Massaman Curry Sauce, $5

I’ve never heard of, or eaten, roti at any other restaurant. It’s a thin bread

that is apparently pan fried and made from wheat flour. In full disclosure, I’ve never tried the curry sauce that came with it; instead, I douse a piece of roti in plum sauce (did I mention I’m in love with that sauce?), and eat it like a pizza slice. I know, I know, there’s no way I’m eating it correctly, but I eat Thai food however I please, darn it. The roti is a little greasy, because it’s fried, so it can be a little rough on your digestive system. Nevertheless, it tastes great, as fried food is wont to do.

Rating: 4.5/5

Appetizers are a lovely part of a meal, as we all know, but what about a main course? Sukho’s menu contains several sections of entrees: Seafood, Sautéed, Grilled, Curry, Noodles and Rice, etc. Being the carb-loving girl that I am, I always turn right to the Noodles and Rice section. Most recently, I ordered Pad Thai with tofu (though there’s an option of multiple different kinds of meats), which cost $11. The entrees at Sukho Thai are much more reasonably priced than the appetizers when you factor in their size; there’s substantially more food on the plate when you order a main dish, for only a small increase in price. However, I have numerous complaints about the quality of the Pad Thai. It was not very flavorful, to start, with very lightly spiced noodles and vegetables. Also, though I ordered it with tofu, I found very little tofu in the dish, which was disappointing. I’ve had better Pad Thai at most other Thai restaurants I’ve tried. On the flip side, there was plenty of pasta and I could hardly finish half of what was on my plate, so you can count on being filled up when you order a noodle dish at Sukho.

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In summary, Sukho Thai is okay. It’s not exceptional, and it’s certainly not bad. If you need your Thai fix easily, just walk on over and you’ll be seated and served quickly.

Also: plum sauce.

Also: Thai iced tea for the tumblr chick in all of us.

Also: food. A lot of food.

I’m giving Sukho a 3.5 out of 5 for pretty good food but sort of high pricing. It’s accessible, friendly, and it possesses plum sauce. I’d still recommend it to anyone looking for Thai food near school. Stop on by sometime; heck, make plans with me and we’ll eat there. Happy munching!

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