“Tempura Rainbow” : tuna, salmon, butterfish & shrimp
QuinteALIVE has covered restaurants and food often; but, now we are launching “Restaurant Reviews”, QuinteALIVE’s official restaurant reviews of venues in the Quinte region. These are not paid reviews; they are from the heart–or rather, the palate. Today, we are featuring the excellent, Thai Sushi, Front Street, Trenton (Quinte West).
Ken Chen, a former Chef with a Chinese heritage hailing from Toronto , opened Thai Sushi in Spring 2009. This beautiful, serene venue, features Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes. Chen is clear to say it is not “fusion”; but, “more than sushi”.
These days, taste matters; but, presentation “kicks it up a notch”, quoting the unforgettable words of Chef Emeril Lagasse. Chef Chen does “kick it up” where spices are concerned; however, his art is indisputable. I was impressed by the speed with which Chen whipped up dishes from scratch into compositions on plates that seemed more like canvasses. I almost hated to disrupt the contents therein.
Fresh Mango Salad
The meal began with Fresh Mango Salad in Chen’s own special dressing including lime juice, fish sauce and dry onion. This salad is a cure for all ills; I called it a “bowl of health and vitamins” by virtue of its crisp, fresh ingredients including mangoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions sprinkled with cashews.
Before I had time to finish said appetizer, the first entree, Tempura Rainbow (shown above), mixed sashimi on top of shrimp tempura maki, arrived at my table. I gasped as I viewed its loveliness. My palate had no less catharsis; the combination of flavors and freshness of this marine medley (which seemed to melt when consumed) was a delight to my tired taste buds. For extra zing, I added a little ginger with each bite.
“American Eagle” : BBQ eel, avocado, fish eggs, tempura shrimp and crab meat
On its heels, the American Eagle joined the fare (this is a name given by a customer, claiming it resembled the bird). In my opinion, it looks more like a caterpillar on the run. This architectural work complete with dip art includes BBQ’d eel, avocado, fish eggs, tempura shrimp and crab meat. Chef Chen was clearly building the experience toward a crescendo. Lo and behold General Tao entered the scene.
Thai General Tao Chicken, a favorite of the infamous General, spicy chicken breast pieces stir-fried with Thai chili and garlic served on a bed of crisp broccoli was a surprise. I would never have ordered this on my own; but, it was bursting with flavour. Chef Chen reports that this is the most requested dish; it is clear why it leads the pack. I could not wait to get home and finish what remained of this dish in my take-out package.
“Thai General Tao chicken”
The finale, Curry Pumpkin Soup, famous in the immediate area, was prepared special for me, since it was already sold-out. It is among my top five dishes to enjoy in the entire region. This soup features the predictable thickness of a pumpkin soup; but, the sweet and spicy blend with a hint of basil, garlic, chili and coconut milk curry draws groans from everyone, especially me. This soup could truly win ribbons at the world level.
Curry Pumpkin Soup
The whole meal was accompanied by steeped Popped Rice Japanese Tea. This tea is not acidic like most teas, offering a nice counter-balance to the spices and flavours in this feast.
Service is exceptional–this is endemic to the culture; however, endless smiles and respect in this day and age are hard to come by. It is difficult not to feel like royalty in Thai Sushi. If I were to trigger a star system, Chef Chen’s efforts get five big ones.
Where: 22 Front Street, Downtown Trenton (back of waterfront), Ontario Tel: 613.965.6688 (also take-out)
Mon-Thu : 11am to 10pm Fri-Sat : 11am – 10:30pm Sun: 11am to 10pm