Restaurant Review: Phat Thai Carbondale, CO
A LOCAL’S FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN CARBONDALE, CO
Carbondale boasts several lively eateries that serve mouthwatering food at wallet-friendly prices and being a college town with a younger year-round crowd than Aspen, it can certainly hold its own, especially on the first Friday of every month; coincidentally called ‘First Friday(s)’. Shops and galleries stay open late offering discounts; many serve wine and appetizers and the town buzzes late into the evening.
Summer is best, with street performances, live music, etc…but back to the food.
One of my favorite places to eat is Phat Thai; the name speaks for itself and they’re situated at 343 Main Street, right where the action is. There’s a large bar coupled with a separate communal bar table that dominates the room, plus numerous tables for those wanting a more private dining experience. The atmosphere is lively and frequently loud, especially on Fridays. The décor is hip enough and for starters, you’ll flap through a pair of burlap drapes at the entrance.
In summer, sit by the large window that’s open to the street… lounge on a pile of cushions and enjoy one or two excellent cocktails.
Phat Thai has great mixologists ….they infuse vodka with lemongrass and fresh ginger, resulting in a selection of delicious martinis.
The Ginger Cosmo is a house favorite – mine is the ‘Phat Ass’ – fragrant with lemongrass and dangerously refreshing; dangerous because one goes down rather too easily; two means you’ll probably need a designated driver. Not finding exactly what she wanted, my companion asked for ‘something very spicy’; they rustled up a ‘Pepper Vodka Surprise’ which put a big Phat smile on her face. Most of the cocktails are $7.50 and feel like a steal.
Before you’ve placed your order for food, you’re presented with a tower of wonderfully overblown deep fried crispy rice things, studded with black sesame seeds – great snacking to whet the appetite (but you may need a toothpick later).
As for the menu – whereas it may lack the authenticity of Thai street food, there’s plenty of chili, coconut, lime, mint, lemongrass, ginger and red/green curry paste to satisfy any picky eater who loves Asian cuisine.
Portions are generous and some are great value, such as the Hot Thai Beef Salad, a flavorful plateful at $8.00. I usually order Laksa with Shrimp – tender rice noodles swimming in an aromatic coconut, chili, garlic, lemongrass broth with shrimp and cilantro.
Entrees are in the $15.00 range and their curries of local lamb or beef – and occasionally duck – are wonderful and come with a choice of rice, ranging from the sticky glutinous variety to their very more-ish coconut rice – and for those who crave a serious chili fix, there’s plenty of real heat on the menu.
For dessert, try sticky rice with mango; almost big enough to share but you won’t want to.
You will want to return to Phat Thai though.
(Jackie Mansfield is the creator of www.Edibletcetera.com – ‘Not just another blog – for Foodies everywhere!’)