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Sat, Oct. 19

Foodie Review: Tara Fine Thai Cuisine in downtown Prescott

Wow!! I thought I was in Lord Jim's atop the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in downtown Bangkok, but no, I was at Tara Fine Thai Cuisine at 115 S. Cortez in Prescott. This is a food review but one has to take notice of the décor in this beautiful restaurant. A huge Buda overlooking a 30-foot Koi Pond greets diners as they enter. There is a long beautiful bar and spacious seating throughout the restaurant. It is truly magnificent.

Although the names of the dishes aren't, the food is traditional Thai and delicious. From a price standpoint I would say moderate to high for Thai food. They have a decent sized menu with seven appetizers ranging from $7.95 to $11.95. For a good sampling try the Taste of Thailand appetizer. It contains two each of Veggie Rolls, Satay, Coconut Shrimp, and Wonton and is served with cucumber sauce, peanut sauce and sweet/sour sauce. The Coconut Shrimp is outstanding, fried perfectly crispy and not greasy. There are seven different salads and six soups, everything is served ala Carte. Soups and salads range from $9.95 to $15.95 and are a good size.

There are 25 traditional entrees to choose from including several Thai curries and noodle dishes ranging from $11.95 to $19.95 and also a daily special. We chose the Sweet Grand Canyon Curry and a dish not on the menu that most Thai restaurants will make for you called Pad Kee Mao (also known as drunken noodle). The Sweet Grand Canyon Curry is a flavorful green curry with your choice of meat. I chose chicken, accented with cucumbers, carrots, green beans, bell peppers and basil. It is topped off with a generous garnish of cilantro. This dish has incredible depth of flavor from the sweetness of the curry to the spicy bite from the cilantro. On the table are three spicy garnishes for your use and as any good Thai restaurant, they will make you some Prik Nam Pla which is fish sauce with Thai chilies, lime and spices for those with a "heat" seeking palate. Dishes come in your choice of mild, medium, hot and Thai hot. You can also substitute tofu for meat in most dishes to accommodate the vegetarian diner.

The Pad Kee Mao we enjoyed is a noodle dish with your choice of meat, red and green pepper, red cabbage, carrot, green onion, cilantro, and wide noodles in a rich flavorful brown sauce. Both entrees were cooked in sauces but the vegetables retained their crunch and were perfectly cooked giving both dishes great texture.

There is no dessert menu however they have a few selections including their incredible coconut ice cream made in house daily. A full bar and wine list is also available, but a trip to a Thai restaurant must include Thai Iced Coffee. Double strength brewed coffee, cream, sugar and some mild Thai spices make this coffee a must and, in my opinion, not duplicated by any of Seattle's famous coffee houses.

Daily drink and dinner specials, happy hour prices, good service, and a beautiful setting make this a dining experience to remember.

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