Joe and I took advantage of the recent sweltering weather to not cook and instead check out two places that were new to us. The first took us a bit out of our way, but it was worth it. The second is just a few minutes away. And because I managed to take no photos, you get a picture of some violets instead!
- Basil Thai is located north of Syracuse in Phoenix. Never been to Phoenix? Well, here’s a good reason if you need one! If you like Erawan on Erie Blvd., I have no doubt that you will enjoy Basil Thai. It’s an unassuming place, set in a strip mall plaza. The restaurant seating area is small, but the decor is tidy and the staff is friendly. The effusive owner came out personally after we ate to ask how our meal was. We started with a spring roll each. Joe had the Kao Pad Basil, a Thai style fried rice dish with sweet basil leaves with chicken. I also went with chicken in my Pad Kie Mao, which is a dish featuring stir fried large Thai noodles with oyster sauce, tomatoes, broccoli and sweet basil leaves. This is one of my favorite dishes at Erawan, so I wanted to compare and contrast.All of the ingredients tasted fresh and we were quite happy with our dinners. I ordered mine hot, which, according to their scale was about middle of the road. At Erawan, I usually ask for the hottest option, but I wanted to play it safe. I think I could go a step or two up next time, but there was still enough heat to warm my mouth nicely. Again, if you like Erawan, you will enjoy Basil Thai - and its open on Sundays (a day that Joe and I seem to be craving Thai on quite often)(or, at least, it appears to be open on Sundays? The menu I got says yes, the website says no - call ahead!). Some of the folks on syracuse.com’s dining forum have good things to say as well. I recommend making the short drive to Phoenix to support this restaurant!
- The second place of note is Ponchito’s Taqueria at 3800 New Court Ave. in Lyncourt. Two reviews have appeared previously at Walkable Eastwood (includes a picture of the menu) and Dave’s List (scroll down to Mexican). Hearing about cheap and good food always interests me! Joe and I went there a few nights ago and we will definitely be back. We shared two of the super burritos, one chicken and one carnitas. The chicken was tasty, but the pork was fantastic. I know that I’ll be hard-pressed to try anything but the pork on my next visit. The staff, a bunch of friendly guys, made sure that everything was correct (choice of beans - pinto or black, topping - guacamole or sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, etc.) and our order was up quickly. Tasty, inexpensive burritos accompanied by pineapple soda ended up being the perfect hot summer evening meal. The fact that they are open until 11pm weekdays and 3am on Friday and Saturday means that this would be a perfect place for students, bands, and anyone else feeling a little peckish at an hour where the choices are slim to grab some late-night eats.
Neither of these places are fancy dining, but they are winners: pleasant staff and food that hits the spot. Check them out!