Saturday, March 24, 2012
A few months ago when I was doing some holiday shopping at the Project Storefronts pop-up shops in New Haven, I spotted a new Thai restaurant on Crown Street. It's wedged between a Nail salon and Bubble Tea place, all of which are making a go of it across from the new cooperative arts and humanities school. I made a mental note to give the restaurant a try next time I was in the neighborhood, which is where I happened to find myself today.
After a week of summer-like weather, today's chill set the perfect stage for a bowl of noodles. Jeera Thai does not disappoint in this arena, as there are many options to choose from. There are also plenty of soups and curries as well. I decided on the Pad Thai Miracle Noodles, which came with a good amount of my favorite veggie, baby bok choy. You can choose from noodles made from tofu, yam or rice; I went with the traditional rice noodle. The dish was topped with ground peanuts and had a flavorful combination of citrus and soy with a bit of sesame oil.
I started the meal with an order of Triple Mushroom Spring Rolls with Hawaiian Pineapple Dipping Sauce. This was a good portion of super crisp and hot rolls filled with smoky mushrooms and cabbage. The sweet and sour dipping sauce was the perfect contrast.
I jumped ahead and ordered dessert not realizing how filling my meal would be, but I was intrigued by the Yam Coconut Custard with Purple Sticky Rice. Most of the time I get Mango Sticky Rice for dessert and have never had this dish before. My server assured me it was vegan, so I decided to give it a try.
Served warm, the custard is light and spongy, and the sweet coconut cream is a luscious contrast to the savory sticky rice underneath. I'm happy to know I now have a place for vegan dessert in New Haven!
Jeera Thai is a lovely little spot for a quick bite to eat serving creative dishes that surpass most Thai restaurants in the area. There are only 4 stools beneath a narrow counter for seating, so unless you're prepared to bump and twist during your meal to allow diners and servers to squeeze past, I recommend takeout rather than dining in. Or, once the weather warms up again, be sure to grab one of the 2 streetside tables for dining al fresco.