Guess how many Thai restaurants there are in Milledgeville. That’s right, one. So if you love pad Thai, tom yum or massaman, you’ve got one choice: Kai Thai in the WalMart shopping center. Lucky for you, it’s excellent.
Kai Thai recently has been renovated with a modern nod to traditional Thai decor. The sushi bar looks very much like a wooden long-tail boat, subliminally implying the freshness of the hand rolled sushi and sashimi. But if sushi is not your thing, never fear -- there are many other Japanese and Thai dishes to choose from.
We began with the appetizer platter that included two fried Thai spring rolls, three crab rangoon and two fresh rolls for $8.99. Our knowledgeable and efficient server also suggested the Thai dumplings, filled with ground pork and water chestnuts. (In a side note, we had inquired about which items might be gluten free for one of our tasters. Not only did the chef ensure that his meal was gluten free, she also made sure nothing with gluten touched that diner’s food.)
Lunch selections come with a fried spring roll and either a side salad or bowl of soup. The salads were topped with a fantastic ginger dressing with extra carrots mixed in for crunch. I was a little disappointed that the soup of the day was egg drop instead of something Thai, but it was a serviceable version of the Chinese classic.
My entree was the massaman curry, a coconut curry with potatoes, cashews, onion and avocado. The chef’s personality was evident in the addition of artfully carved potatoes that elevated the dish beyond just traditional, staying true to the flavor but putting her twist into its appearance.
We chose chicken to go in the pad prik king, a stir fried curry with beans, carrots and bell pepper, and asked for a “two” on the spicy scale.
Interestingly, the servers only mention levels one, two and three (three being the hottest) to most guests, but it actually goes up to a “make you cry” five, if you so choose.
The price of each Thai dish depends on which protein you choose, either $7.95 for veggie, tofu, pork, beef or chicken; or $8.95 for talapia or shrimp.
On the Japanese side, we had a shrimp teppanyaki, which is essentially grilled meat with rice like you would have at a hibachi restaurant. Ours was tender and flavorful, but nothing out of the ordinary. Our mixed vegetables in garlic sauce was fine, but not noteworthy.
Make sure you notice the specials board on the sidewalk before you go in. I missed the two new creative and delicious sounding salads, the crunchy papaya salad with papaya straws, cashews, shrimp and tamarind dressing for $10.95 and the spicy corn salad with fresh corn off the cob, shrimp, peanuts and green beans for $9.95.
Milledgeville has changed so much in the last 10 years, showing it is always ready for something new. Kai Thai is an excellent addition to its expanding palate.
Address: 2600 N. Columbia St., Milledgeville
Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $6.59-$22.99
Rating: 3 stars