TUKTA THAI - CAREFUL COOKING, BYOB, AND NO PRETENSE.
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
by Andrew Chalk
I’m currently exploring restaurants in the quadrant of Dallas that you might loosely call ‘northeast’ (roughly I-30 in the south to Campbell in the north and I-75 in the west to Jupiter in the east). Going to a different unseen, untried, unrecommended, place each week has had results across the board. One that recently punched above its weight was Tukta Thai, an unpretentious, family-run Thai restaurant in a strip shopping center that has been around no less than 23 years (a geological eon in Dallas terms). Owners Wuttichai and Suwanna Ruengmateekhun, first generation immigrants, are hands on, very visible, and their imprint shows.
The menu (fully illustrated, so non-intimidating) consists of all the Thai favorites and a few rarities. Among the latter, the appetizer Gai Hoa Bai Tong ($8.95) is a banana leaf-wrapped piece of chicken minced and stuffed with garlic, ginger, lemon grass and onion, served with a Thai chili sauce. Wuttichai points out that this is quite hard to make (despite its simple appearance) and appeals to only a select subset of the clientele.
Kha Nom Gene ($12.95) is Thai spaghetti (actually made of bean flour, not wheat flour) with green curry, coconut milk, bamboo shoot, zucchini, eggplant, and basil. This is heartwarming entrée stuff that would work as well on a snowy day in iceland as in the Thai equatorial heat.
More mainstream was the Soft Spring Roll with Shrimp Appetizer ($5.95), with two rolls and the addictive Tom Kha Soup ($11.95 - large bowl. A small bowl is $6.50).
One thing came through with all these dishes - how carefully executed they were. For example, I get takeout occasionally at a different Thai restaurant. Invariably, there are basic issues with the preparation. The most common is that the vegetables are not cooked correctly. Carrots are hard and bok choy limp because the chef throws them all in at the same time, or sizes them wrongly for even softening. At Tukta Thai there is none of that. Everything comes out prepared with care and attention. Al dente vegetables, soft chicken slices in the Tom Kha soup, and rice that is light and fluffy.
One nice thing about Tukta Thai is that it is BYOB (with not even any corkage fee!). We had the 2012 Donum Pinot Noir, Single Vineyard, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, CA. A bit of age that came through in the resolved character of this wine. As I’ve found with other Pinot Noirs, it worked well with Thai food.
Tukta Thai is the best part of discovering an area. A totally unpretentious restaurant, with a compelling story behind it, that you will love to return to again and again.
Update: I paid for my meal and dined anonymously