On my continued search for great Thai food near home, I think I have finally found my spot in Longtail Kitchen in New West.
I admit that I have been longing to go since I saw some of the dishes featured in “You Gotta Eat Here,” but was only able to try it last night, months after I saw the episode.
Found at the Quay, Longtail patrons benefit from some water views, although not much right now with some of the boarding up in the boardwalk. You may be underwhelmed by the place’s appearance, which is very simple and basic, almost dive-like, but perhaps I am being too harsh. I was expecting more of a restaurant experience, but now remind myself that it is off of the Quay’s food court after all. We had to borrow a high chair from the food court as Longtail didn’t appear to have its own. The menu was short and on chalkboard. I was expecting more variety. Tables weren’t the cleanest as patrons are encouraged to bus their own, and food, even eating in, was not served on real plates. However, for those with environmental concerns, they were using what appeared to be bio-degradable cutlery and cute cardboard serving containers.
Look past all that, though, and let’s talk about the food. For the three of us we ordered their chicken wings with tamarind sauce on the side, the green papaya salad, the pad thai with shrimp, and the gailan with pork belly with rice. Again, because of the serving containers the appearance wasn’t the best but I think the food’s taste made up for it on the whole. The main disservice the containers do for the place is that it makes the food portion appear small, when that is not the reality! Even when we ate our fill, we had leftovers to bring home.
I didn’t get a great shot of the papaya salad, but I can tell you that I almost couldn’t stop eating it. It was spicy, so I knew I was only sharing with D., but still I had to restrain myself and leave at least half for her to enjoy as well. Very fresh, with a great kick!
J. enjoyed the wings the most. That and the rice was pretty much all he could eat as the other dishes were spicy, even the gailan/pork belly one which was unexpected. It was a good portion for $8. It was four full-on wings (drummette, wingette, and tip/nub) so a lot of meat on the bone. The seasoning/light batter was a little sweet for my taste, but AFs know I don’t like sweet meat. The tamarind sauce was pleasing as a dipping sauce. I wouldn’t pour it on, but it’s a great accent. Our guesses are, other than tamarind, it probably includes some fish sauce, and perhaps a bit of shrimp paste as well.
What I was really zoning in on was the pad thai. My other Thai restaurant excursions in this respect have not satisfied me. This one did. It tasted just as a pad thai should. The bean sprouts were fresh and crunchy and they love deep fried scallions as a garnish in almost all their dishes. The colour and taste of the pad thai was right on. Again a bit on the spicy side but exactly what my mouth was looking for! One critique may be that I am not sure if the $2 price difference from a tofu pad thai and a shrimp pad thai is worth it with only three shrimp provided. I’m not up on the latest food costs, so maybe that price is to be expected?
The real surprise was the gailan and pork belly. Its accompanying rice saved us when the spice from the salad and the pad thai were becoming too much. But, on its own, I really enjoyed it. The gailan was well cooked, and the pork belly was immersed in the dish’s sauce. The pork belly wasn’t crispy, but I think that would have taken away from the two main ingredients coming together in that dish. It was a welcome palette break from the intense spice of the salad and pad thai, however, it did have its own zing.
When ordering, I wasn’t asked about spice level, so I don’t know if there are options. If you plan on checking it out, ask, and let me know if they are able to adjust the spice to order.