Yoong Tong Thai Restaurant
Northborough - I can describe my recent dining experience at Yoong Tong Thai Restaurant with one word: spice.
With a party in tow, I arrived at the restaurant in a rainstorm. We were seated immediately at a table for six in the atrium, and watched the rain around us through the glass walls and ceiling. Delicate disks lit by tiny red lights hung on strings overhead, giving a decidedly warm glow to the décor.
Examining the extensive menu took a while, but with two pre-teens and four adults, it had enough options to satisfy even the most particular among us.
After ordering, we enjoyed glasses of a dense, fruity zinfandel by Cline ($25), while the boys had soda ($1.95).
Our appetizers arrived promptly. The Thai rolls ($5.95) were light, crispy spring rolls served with a tasty sauce, slightly sweet and slightly spicy.
The gyoza ($5.95), a fried dumpling filled with chicken, pork and vegetables, was also a crowd pleaser. Served with soy sauce on the side, they were mild and tasty.
One companion ordered a bowl of Tom Yum seafood ($4.95), a Thai version of hot and sour that he found full of scallops, shrimps, scallions, tomato and spice, with a tang of lemongrass.
Our main courses spanned the menu, from Yoong Tong specialties to noodle dishes and curry.
I found the spice level of my country noodle curry perfect. The wide noodles were buried under a sauce with a light sweetness and crisp vegetables, including green beans, carrots and summer squash.
One of my younger companions enjoyed his pad woonsen (($12.95), a dish of fried jelly noodles with chicken and turkey and a variety of vegetables. The other was very happy with his grilled salmon teriyaki ($16.90), which came with a heaping side of colorful steamed vegetables.
The wild boar basil ($15.95) included pan-fried pork, mushrooms and other vegetables spiced with chili peppers. Marked on the menu with three peppers, it more than satisfied one companion's taste for heat.
The beef macadamia ($16.95), was a mild stir-fry dish that another companion greatly enjoyed. The shrimp garlic ($16.95) presented marinated shrimp stir-fried with garlic and mushrooms. This dish received the highest praise.
We ended the meal by sharing a complimentary fried ice cream drizzled in chocolate and laced with whipped cream.
If all that wasn't enough, our waiter entertained us with a story about Dice-K, who frequents the other Yoong Tong restaurant (in Chelmsford) when he returns from away games in towns that don't have much in the way of Asian food.
Spice in food, spice in atmosphere and, finally, spice in stories.
All of us agreed that Yoong Tong was worth a trip back because the food, and the experience, was so enjoyable.
Yoong Tong is located at 278 Main St., Northborough. It is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday until 10 p.m., with lunch served weekdays 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The restaurant is open for dinner Saturday 3:30 to 10 p.m. and Sunday 3:30 to 9 p.m. More information is available at www.yoongtong.com or 508-393-7714.
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