Cozy Culture Change at Saint Johnsbury Restaurant| 09.21.18
Downside: Not a Full Bar; No Sushi; Dining Room is Small
Mountain Rating 7/10
Kham’s Thai has been a St. Johnsbury restaurant for a number of years. But, I had never been there until a few weeks ago when I was seeking a new place to eat while on a time schedule. I was not disappointed.
Over the last few years I have been a frequent visitor to Dusit Thai Restaurant in Newport so I had high hopes for a similar menu with a high quality product – and that is exactly what we got.
When you first walk into the restaurant you are in a small lobby area where the cash register is located. This space is separated from the main dining room by a wall. Upon entering you are immediately greeted by a person behind the counter, who then directs you to the dining room. There is no question that you’ve been seen and that your server is on his/her way.
Having the business space separate helps to create a calm atmosphere in the main dining room as people are coming and going. Takeout order pick-up and cashier transactions take place without interfering with diners. The restaurant is small enough that if not for this division of spaces it would be quite distracting.
The main dining area is a narrow room flooded with light the numerous windows along the front of the building. Wall art and wood tones help the space feel cohesive while a few well placed knickknacks and images provide the needed cultural atmosphere without being overwhelming or gimmicky.
My son and I decided to try Kham’s Thai because we were attending a school event. This meant we were on a tight time schedule. We browsed through the menu and settled on a veggie tempura appetizer for the table. He then ordered the drunken noodles with scallops and I ordered the fried rice with shrimp.
The appetizer was up in less than 10 min. I am a tempura fan, and was happy to see all of the different foods that had been included in this dish: onions, green and red peppers, sweet potato, broccoli, and even pineapple. Everything was well cooked and the batter was crispy as it should be. It came with a side of sweet and sour sauce that had a bit of heat to it.
My fried rice was delicious. This dish was sweeter than similar entrees I have eaten, but I found that to be a pleasant surprise. It was filled with pea pods, carrots, onions, baby corn, broccoli, and a healthy amount of shrimp.
I have never tried drunken noodles before and so had to take a bit from my son’s plate. First off – for those that don’t know, this dish is not like a soup. My son had envisioned something like Ramen, but that was not the case.
Instead, a pile of noodles filled with vegetables and scallops with a broth based sauce was placed in front of him. It reminded me of a lo mien.
On trying it, I found that it too had a sweeter profile and a lot of flavor.
One thing that I noticed about both dishes was the use of pineapple and pineapple juice. This ingredient wasn’t as prevalent in other Thai Restaurants that I have been to. This culinary surprise paired with the more unique dining layout make Kham’s Thai restaurant in St. Johnsbury more unique in both menu and atmosphere.
While this restaurant may not be ideal for large parties, it is a fantastic addition to the culinary scene of the lower NEK. And it seems to be able to accommodate tight time schedule recommending it as a perfect option for your lunch break.
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