After reading rave reviews for Erawan Thai Cuisine in Chinatown, I decided to get the $12 for $25 Groupon a while back. Finally, I got to use it, and we had a lovely dinner. Although they cancelled our reservation when we were just nine minutes late, we got a table right away despite the restaurant being more than half full – a good sign. We all felt like spicy food, so we went mostly with medium and extremely hot.
The Papaya Salad was vibrant and just lovely to look at. The red chilies, cherry tomatoes, and carrots really contrasted to the crushed peanuts, mixed greens, and shredded green papaya. Although we asked for medium hot, this was very spicy, perhaps just a tad bit too much of the chili sauce. However, I loved the burning sensation with the refreshing, crunchy salad. The iceberg lettuce was exceptionally crunchy as well. The peanuts added a different sort of crunch and the mix of spicy, sweet, and sour was incredible. The portion was quite big and the presentation was just amazing thanks to the colour. I would certainly order this again.
The Seafood Tom Yum came in a very small bowl but the soup was extremely flavourful. It was sour and hot but no flavour was overwhelming. The lemongrass and other spices blended beautifully. The scallops, mussels, shrimp, and cuttlefish were all tender enough, although I thought the scallops could have been tenderer; it was just the slightest bit overcooked. The amount of seafood for this size of bowl was good, but for $6.95, I expected a bigger portion. The button mushrooms were juicy as well. It was a great little bowl of warming soup.
Our first entrée was the Shrimp Holy Basil Supreme, which was stir fried shrimp with green beans, bell peppers, onions, and plenty of basil. The basil flavour was quite strong and delicious. The spice level was good as it was quite hot but did not overtake the basil aroma. The shrimp were tender and the vegetables were also flavourful but not overcooked. The dish came with rice, although it was not quite enough for us. Despite the small portion, I loved the bold flavours reflecting strongly of Thai cuisine.
Finally, we got the Chicken Ultimate Pad Thai. It came on a plate with a very decent portion. The thin and flat rice noodles were cooked nicely and al dente – chewy, stretchy, yet firm. It came with shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts. It was stir fried with plenty of tofu and egg swirls. The chicken breast slices were rather dry and tough, though, and did not soak up any flavour. The sauce was rather sweet and was clearly made using lots of ketchup. However, sweet and tangy is always appreciated. Sure, it was not authentic pad thai sauce, however, it was still delicious. I would probably get it with different meat next time, though.
Service was friendly and the restaurant was spacious with traditional décor. The ambiance was quite relaxing, but the restroom was not exactly clean. However, everything in the dining room looked nice and the lighting was dim but not dark. Altogether, it was quite a good deal and I would take friends back here for some decent Thai food.