What we have here is a mom-n-pop joint masquerading as a chain fast-casual restaurant. Two things jump out and give that impression when walking in the door at Chad Thai.
First, it’s that polished look. They’ve done a great job remodeling the former Pretzel Factory space in Milton. The feel is modern but comfortable. Contemporary photography of Asian cities beguiles what piped-in 90′s music confirms – this place is run by American Gen-Xers.
Second, the menu is straight out of that fast-casual playbook. Pick an entree grouped in categories of noodles, fried rice, stir fry or curry. Next you’ll choose a protein followed by a selection of veggies. Finish it off with your heat level of up to five stars.
But don’t let the seemingly boring and predictable trappings of the fast-casual world turn you off to Chad Thai. This joint has potential and is worthy of your ten dollar lunch business. Here’s why.
Proteins. They’ve sourced them carefully. The chicken is from Springer Mountain. Beef and pork are locally sourced. Shrimp is wild caught from the Gulf of Mexico. You can taste the difference. Strips of braised brisket are amazingly tender, the shrimp sweet and delicious.
The rest of the menu is loaded with curious options that warrant repeat trips. Bao buns make an appearance including one with brisket. Or pair up a few small plate choices to make a meal. Chad’s deep fried brussel sprouts are a winner. Tossed in a sweet glaze, these delicious morsels are devoured in no time.
Yet Chad Thai still needs a bit of time to mature into its menu. Spice and flavor levels were a bit subdued on a few visits. The massaman curry, while supposed to be on the mild side, was much too mild and lacked depth. The Boom Boom shrimp small plate was hush hush on the heat, something that should have smacked the taste buds around a bit.
The beer menu features local brews. Jekyll Brewing is there as is Red Hare from Marietta. Monday Night’s Fu Manbrew is on-tap. With a hint of ginger it’s a great complement to this menu.
And extra props are due to Chad Thai’s kids’ menu. Their coconut chicken fingers are excellent and find their way into other parts of the menu. Sweet and sour chicken is another good choice for junior. Some might find it overly sweet with huge chunks of pineapple, but it was a creative twist on a traditional favorite.
There’s no shortage of Thai options along Highway 9 and Windward. Yet with a broad menu, quality ingredients and some talent in the kitchen, Chad Thai will be competitive here. Don’t let the chain-ish appearance of this place fool you, Chad is a worthy contender.
Chad Thai is located at 13087 Highway 9, Suite 910 near the Milton Target. Visit them online at www.chadthai.com