Oct

11

2011

Zab Thai Kitchen: A Hidden Gem

Written By Caroline in Reviews

One Clean Plate Zab Thai Kitchen Building By Caroline Wik

The unassuming exterior of Zab camouflages the delights you'll find inside

Zab Thai Kitchen

10667 Loveland-Madeira Road
Loveland, Oh 45140
513.774.7800

Rating: 4 out of 5 plates
Hours: Lunch:
Mon-Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Dinner:
Mon-Thurs: 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 5:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sun: Closed
Price Range: Appetizers, Soups, Salads: $3 – $8
Noodles, Rice, Stir Fry & Curries: $6 – $12
Specialties: $12 – $15
Drinks: $2 – $3

ZabThaiKitchen.com

Zab Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Whenever someone stumbles upon something new, they generally tend to not have any expectations of it. When it’s good, they are pleasantly surprised, and when it’s not good, they are not disappointed. That’s pretty much what happened to us. Except that it wasn’t good, it was fantastic.

We stumbled upon Zab while in Loveland, and wondered what happened to the Chinese (American Chinese) buffet that used to be in it’s very location. We were really curious how it would now be decorated and if it was any good, so we wandered on in to grab a quick lunch.

The interior is completely different from the old Chinese buffet – the first thing that struck me was how open it feels now. The walls are warm creams and brown-greens, and there’s now a neutral, tightly woven office-type carpet down. There are some Asian-styled light fixtures mixed among modern style ones. Overall, the interior has a very modern feel to it without going overboard. It’s very casual and comfortable.

One Clean Plate Zab Thai Kitchen Table By Caroline Wik

The decor and table settings are modern in a classy, semi-minimalist way

The restaurant only had a few other filled tables in, but it was right after lunchtime. We were seated right away and began looking over the menu. It’s not too big, but it’s full of many common, as well as uncommon Thai dishes. So many sounded good that we decided to order the O-leang, or Thai iced coffee, while we tried to decide on main dishes. Okay, while I tried to decide – Adam already knew what he wanted.

The O-leang came in a nice glass with a layer at the top of sweetened condensed milk. Since they came with thick straws I tried a sip of the black coffee, then we stirred them and they became a light, creamy tan color. Flavor wise, they were incredible. The taste is very similar to Vietnamese coffee, but you can tell that there is something unique about it. It’s actually because O-leang is coffee plus corn, soybeans and sometimes sesame seeds ground together and then brewed in a special manner. After brewing, sugar and sweetened condensed milk are added.

One Clean Plate Zab Thai Kitchen Oleang Unmixed By Caroline Wik

The unmixed Thai Coffee

When we were finally ready to order, Adam got his usual Massaman Curry – according to him that’s his measure of a Thai restaurant. I usually like to get Pad Thai, but I wanted something different today, so I got the Pah Lho (braised pork). As soon as I said it the waitress’ gut response was “Oh that is so good….!” Looking good so far!

Our meals came out quickly, and smelled so wonderful. Adam’s Massaman Curry had a great consistency and texture, and the beef, potatoes and carrots were all cooked to perfection. The coconut in the sauce was so savory and delicious. The presentation, while elegant enough to fit the decor, was extremely… ‘homey’. The vegetables were rough cut in large chunks and the meat look liked it had been slow coked then pulled apart making it look like something I could’ve been handed from a Thai granny at a stall in Bangkok.

One Clean Plate Zab Thai Kitchen Pah Lho By Caroline Wik

The red sauce on the side really gave the pork a spicy kick

My Pah Lho is a braised five spice pork with steamed bok choy, some cilantro and a hard boiled egg (I think it was boiled in tea) on the side, as well as a small cup of spicy red sauce. The pork was very flavorful and tender all on it’s own, and after dipping it in the spicy sauce it was fantastic. The pork is very savory, until you dip it in the spicy sauce which really accents the five spice flavor, and gives it a nice pop. I must warn you though, I really mean it when I say it’s spicy!

The service was excellent too – our waitress was really friendly and chatted with us for a bit about the restaurant having been open for only three weeks. Unfortunately, we were in a hurry though, so we didn’t get to hear more at the time. If we weren’t in a hurry, we also would have ordered more food.

One Clean Plate Zab Thai Kitchen O Leang Thai Coffee Mixed By Caroline

The mixed up Thai Coffees were fantastic

Later we found out why Zab’s food was so surprisingly delicious – Zab is owned by chef Paendin “Toon” Yongkanaysin and Srinuan “Cindy” Yantarasri, the former chef and the former co-owner of Beluga respectively. They named the restaurant “Zab” because it means “delicious, spicy, hot.” The menu, according to them, is a lot of familiar dishes, along with some traditional Thai dishes and modern takes on Thai. I really appreciate the uniqueness and authenticity of Zab’s menu – and I think others will too. Especially since it’s so delicious.

If you haven’t yet, you should but Zab Thai Kitchen at the top of your list of places to eat. The food is fantastic and while not overly fancy, it’s still plated very nicely. Prices are moderate, and the portion sizes of our food were moderate as well. I wasn’t full at the end of my meal, but I was at least satisfied (granted, I also didn’t eat the rice it came with.) In fact, I think the prices are generous considering how delicious and high quality the food was. We are definitely going to need to go back soon and order more of the food – when we do we will also write a more thorough review.

If you want to see more pictures of Zab, you should check out our Zab Thai Kitchen Gallery on Facebook.

Have you been to Zab or Belugas before? Share your thoughts and impressions in the comments below!

One Clean Plate Zab Thai Kitchen Massaman Curry By Caroline Wik

The Massaman Curry was well presented but at the same time had a cozy, homemade feel

Verdict: Delicious, Spicy, Hot

Zab Thai Kitchen, unassumingly tucked away in the Shoppes of Loveland shopping center along Loveland-Madeira road, is a new Thai restaurant featuring common Thai dishes along with traditional and modern-style fare. Matching the cuisine, the interior is very modern but still casual and comfortable.

The food is incredibly delicious and beautifully plated, which shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s all made by the former chef from Beluga. The entrees are moderately priced, and moderately portioned, however the flavor is well above what you’d expect.

If you like good food, particularly Thai, I suggest you get in your car now and give it a shot.

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