Wednesday night Karen and I decided to try a new place in the area. A menu/flyer was in the Sunday paper for Chopsticks Noodle & Thai Cafe and it included a couple of coupons that made it seem worthwhile. Both of us enjoy Thai food and while we usually go to Thai Orchid on Eola Road in Aurora, we decided we wanted to try something new.
Chopsticks is located on the North end of the strip mall on Rt 59 and 75th Street next to Sports Authority and The ChalkBoard. They have been open for about four months but I don’t think the word has gotten out yet.
Entering the place for the first time we were unimpressed. There were the usual Thai decorations in the entryway and a couple of photo menus tacked up around the window where the hostess stand used to be and a lighted chalkboard depicting the day’s specials. It was obvious that this space was a very different restaurant before Chopsticks due to the artwork on the walls. I have never seen spaghetti and meatballs in a Thai restaurant before but the main wall had 6 pictures that would be more at home in Luigi’s or Olive Garden. Okay, so the new owners haven’t bothered to redecorate yet. I can live with that.
At 5:30 on a Wednesday night I didn’t expect that they would be busy and I was right. There was only one other table of 3 people there when we arrived and they left about ten minutes later. We were seated by, what I later learned was, the owner. He was very pleasant and allowed us to choose where we wanted to sit.
Since we had looked at the menu before we arrived, we knew what we wanted to order but decided to look over the menu just in case something else jumped out at us. The owner was the only person working the front of the house and he immediately brought us water and asked if we would like anything to drink. We decided to stick with water for this dinner.
I ordered the Chicken Satay, something I always order and use a barometer for a Thai restaurant. Karen ordered the Crab Rangoon and we decided to split a plate of Shrimp Pad Thai and a bowl of Jasmine rice.
The Satay ($5.95 for 4 pieces) were properly cooked and nicely spiced. The peanut sauce that accompanied the satay was tasty but there was not enough served in the bowl so I had to make sure not to eat to much if I wanted it to last through the four pieces of Satay and also let Karen dip her Crab Rangoon into it.
The Crab Rangoon ($5.75 for 6 pieces) was good. They were a little smaller than most places, but you could definitely taste the crab and not have it overpowered by to much cream cheese like a lot of places do. It was served with a side of homemade pineapple sauce which we found strange. They were hot and crispy and we both enjoyed them. I just wish they were a little bigger.
The Shrimp Pad Thai ($11.95) was a hit. It had 6 large shrimp and was perfectly cooked. The noodles were light and everything about the dish said that the chef knew how to cook. The noodles had just the right texture. Granted this is a staple of every Thai restaurant but I have had the same dish in other places and not been able to eat it. This one was excellent and we would happily have it again the next time.
Because there was not enough Peanut sauce left over, we ordered a side dish ($2.00) so that we could add it to the Jasmine rice ($2.00). This side was about three times as large as the bowl served with the Satay.
While we were eating at least 3 or 4 people came in to pick up To-Go orders. This seems to be the majority of their business since we were the only diners there for the almost 45 minutes that we were there. One other group of three (a father and 2 [obnoxious and loud] kids) did come in about 5 minutes before we left but that was the extent of the customers while we were there. The owner did say that they had five tables of people just before we arrived so that is good news.
While we were eating the owner stopped by to chat and make sure everything was okay. He was very pleasant and knowledgeable about his competition in the area. He said he makes it a point to go to all his competitors and try their food and make sure his is always better. Based on our experience, I would say he has succeeded.
The total for our meal came to just over $30 and we were able to use a $5.00 coupon so we paid just over $25 for a very nice and satisfying meal. We look forward to going back and trying some of their other options very soon.