ALEX COGGIN ’16
Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner of Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood, it is quite possible to mistake King and I Thai Kitchen for someone’s house as you drive by. The kitchen and dining room of the restaurant are on the first floor of a large white house, which speaks to the home-cooked quality of the food the owners serve. King and I Thai Kitchen serves some of the best Thai food in the greater Hartford area and it is a must try for take out or eat-in.
The dining room is quite small, and upon entering, the space looks as though you have walked into someone’s living room. Funny enough, at one point during my meal a man walked in thinking that he had mistaken the restaurant entrance for somebody’s home. He apologized and began to walk out before the wait staff reassured him that he was in fact in the restaurant.
The walls are decorated with ornate paintings and an eclectic wallpaper border, bringing an exotic vibe to an otherwise homey interior. The dining room seats about 30 people, with six four-person tables and a several two-tops. Do not be dissuaded by the cozy, casual atmosphere; the food is great and the family-run atmosphere really makes for a unique dining experience. I have been to this restaurant numerous times as I am a big fan of Thai food, and I have not once had a bad experience. Take out or dine in, I always leave satisfied.
The menu is quite expansive, with everything from any type of curry you can imagine to a variety of delicious noodle dishes. The appetizers are great as well with options ranging from famous Thai tom-yum soup to chicken satay. Chicken dumplings and egg rolls are two other favorites.
I would definitely recommend ordering one or two of the delicious appetizers, but caution you that portion sizes of the entrees are huge. Keep that in mind when you are ordering.
For appetizers I ordered the chicken satay and steamed chicken dumplings. The chicken satay came with four jumbo-sized skewers. The chicken was thick and tender, with a perfect light char on the outside. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the skewers. The satay peanut sauce was some of the best I have ever had – creamy with a hint of ginger and hot pepper. The dumplings were also good; they came sprinkled with dried roasted garlic but were served with a somewhat underwhelming soy sauce for dipping.
For the main course, I ordered the Pad Thai and green curry. I added shrimp to my Pad Thai and chicken in the curry. The curry was delicious and it came with steamed white rice. The green curry sauce was so tasty I could have eaten it by the spoonful. The flavor was sweet, creamy, and a bit spicy with notes of lemongrass. The Pad Thai was phenomenal as well. The shrimp were juicy and delicious. Served with a generous sprinkle of peanuts and a slice of lime, the dish was everything I was hoping for.
King and I Thai Kitchen is BYOB. The environment is definitely not the same as Trinity Restaurant, but a bottle of wine or some craft beer might go nicely with your meal.
Ordering take-out is always a good move if you are feeling lazy, but the restaurant does not deliver, so unfortunately you will have to go out to get it. However, the drive is only about five minutes away from campus, so if you have access to a car the trip is not too bad. Portions also seem to be substantially larger when you order take-out.
The staff is very friendly – all of the servers are extremely attentive and very genuine and pleasant. My water glass was never empty and the waitress brought us out additional rice shortly after noticing the bowl was empty. The staff also seems to appreciate their customers – on one occasion when my roommates and I ordered a large take-out order, they threw in a complimentary appetizer for us.
One of the best parts of King and I Thai is that the prices are relatively inexpensive. Entrees tend to be right around the ten-dollar range, which for the quality and size of the portions is a steal. Lunch portions are available for even more modest prices. If you are in the mood for classic and delicious Thai food in a comfortable, no-frills setting, then King and I Thai Kitchen is a must visit.
1901 Park St
Hartford, CT 06106