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9:00 PM Mon, Sept. 24th

Foodie Review: Dee Thai Express: authentic, homemade food

Are you ready for some authentic, homemade Thai food with fresh ingredients and a reasonable price? If you are, stop in at Dee Thai Express, 520 W. Sheldon St. (where Aloha Grill used to be).

This is a small brightly decorated restaurant serving delicious home-cooked Thai food made to order. There are 19 entrees on the menu, two appetizers and no desserts. They do not serve alcohol but you can bring in wine or beer. They have soft drinks, coffee and tea. They also have Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea at $2.75 each. All entrees come with your choice of beef, chicken, pork, or tofu. All are priced at $8.99 or add shrimp for a dollar more. There are two kinds of Spring Rolls. One, fried, is served with a sweet-and-sour sauce. The fresh Spring Roll is wrapped in rice paper filled with cabbage, carrots and mint, and served with a delicious peanut sauce. Both are priced at $5.25. We really enjoyed the fresh roll.

Noodles are a specialty here so several of the dishes we sampled were noodle dishes. The Spicy Noodle (Drunken Noodle) was served with the choice of meat and flat or glass noodles, we tried both. The dish also has garlic, chili, bell peppers, mushrooms, yellow onion, carrots, baby corn, broccoli and basil. You can get it as spicy as you like on a 1-to-5 scale with 5 being very spicy. The flavors were well balanced with both the chicken and the shrimp. The subtle brown sauce was very tasty and 3 or 4 on the spice scale is perfect. The Green Curry with tofu was another selection that we sampled, with bamboo shoots, eggplant, bell peppers, peas, carrots, celery, basil and coconut milk. The coconut milk and basil adds sweetness to the dish and coupled with the Prik Nam Pla (fish sauce with chilies) it has a delightful sweet/salty flavor. We also sampled the Pad Gra Prow with tofu. This flavorful dish comes with stir-fried garlic, chilies, bell peppers, yellow onion, string beans and basil in a hearty brown sauce and, as with the Green Curry, comes with perfectly cooked rice on the side. You can also have an optional fried egg on top of the Pad Gra Prow. I did and it was excellent.

The last entrée we tried was the Pad Thai Noodle with chicken. It is a good portion of stir-fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, carrots, string beans, green onion, egg and ground peanuts in a spicy red sauce. This is a classic dish served in all Thai restaurants and this was as good as you'll find. A perfect blending of spices that coat the noodles and just the right amount of heat made this a delicious Pad Thai. All the dishes were cooked to perfection with the vegetables retaining their crunch.

We capped off this excellent meal with Thai Iced Coffee, a delicious blend of strong coffee, sugar and cream, very refreshing. If you enjoy authentic Thai food this is a must try. They are open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. serving lunch and dinner.

- by Archie