By Cat Wurdack
3801 SE Belmont St.
7 days 11 am – 9:30 pm
The sun is shining brightly on the outdoor tables at SE 38th and Belmont and the Blue Basil weekday lunch special is on.
There are twenty-one dishes from which to choose, including a number of colorful curries, pad thai, sweet and sour, and BBQ chicken. Brown or white rice and salad are included for less than ten dollars total.
I order massamun curry with pork and large-cut potatoes, carrots, onions, and peanuts with white rice and Thai iced tea. Everything needs a little green in it. I ask for green beans in the curry. They say ok.
Then I order potstickers. It’s hard to resist six plump, pork-filled dumplings, and these are flash-baked at high heat so they’re not oily. Potstickers are not part of the lunch special, so it’s an extra $5.99 but I’m going for it.
At the next table, Delilah, the lab-pit mix, lolls contentedly on the sidewalk beside her person who is studying a textbook and waiting for her pra ram chicken with peanut sauce to arrive. Fortunately, Delilah is a little bored and receptive to unsolicited advances by well-meaning strangers. I want a dog.
Right now I will settle for potstickers, served on a white porcelain seashell dish with an intricately hand-carved radish shaped like a flower and a slice of cucumber shaped like a leaf; a side of sweet dipping sauce; and a little spoon. It’s very civilized. The vegetable garnish is more than pretty; it will cool my mouth when I finish the curry. Blue Basil and I are off to a good start.
Chef-owner “Tid,” a native of Kampheng Phet, speaks Thai and Lao. He opened the restaurant two months ago. Red curry was the first thing his mom taught him to cook so he would make dinner for the family before she got home from work.
“I started mixing the chili paste (nam phrik),” Tid says, as he mimes the plunging motion of the mortar, “and she recommended me to balance the dish.”
Many dishes are under ten dollars, with chef’s specials like grilled steak topped with grilled vegetables and barbeque pork ribs each around twelve.
If you live within two miles of Blue Basil and you don’t feel like peeling yourself off the couch, Blue Basil will deliver for a three-dollar charge.