Did you know that Farmington has a Thai barbecue place?
I didn’t – but then again up until recently, I hadn’t really explored the city’s downtown area. I’ve always been content shopping among the chains and big box stores on the northeastern side of town, venturing further south on trips to specifically visit Three Rivers Brewery or Tales of Tomorrow.
It’s true, though. Boon’s Thai Family BBQ has been in the area for almost 15 years. It originated in Aztec before making the move to downtown Main Street. The restaurant is named after the owners’ son, Boon, who was a child when it opened, but has since grown up.
I found out a lot about the restaurant and its owners because it also turns out that it’s also one of the friendliest restaurants I’ve been to in quite a while. As we were ordering, our waiter asked us where we were from. My dining companion’s response that she is new to the area provoked a visit to the table by restaurant owner Morey Havens. It was surprising, but very welcoming. If it wasn’t apparent from the name, this is definitely a family run restaurant.
We ordered the Lotus Heaven and the Khao Soi.
Billed as one of the restaurant’s tastiest dishes, the Lotus Heaven was slices of chicken breast seared in a Ka Pao sauce and mixed with onions and bell peppers over steamed cabbage. On the menu, the dish had two chili peppers denoting its spiciness, but in reality didn’t taste that spicy at all. Is this a case of a dish being objectively spicy but a diner’s subjective palate being skewed by decades of a diet heavy in chiles? Perhaps.
The lack of capsaicin-based heat doesn’t make the entrée a disappointment, though. The sauce was very tangy in a slightly-frutier-than-average-barbecue-sauce sort of way. It flavored the chicken perfectly and even made seamed cabbage somewhat tasty – not the easiest feat.
The Khao Soi, which my dining companion – a vegetarian – ordered with tofu, is ramen noodles in a yellow curry base with coconut milk, red onions, crispy noodles, and pickled cabbage. The coconut milk contributed a creaminess to the mix, but the dish was also a bit spicy, she said. She appreciated the presence of the onions and happily noted that the tofu wasn’t soggy.
I ordered a Singha, a beer from Thailand, with the meal. “When in Rome (er, Bangkok)…” I figured.
Has anyone else noticed that 90 percent of the time when you go into a restaurant based around a particular nation’s cuisine, there is exactly one beer from that nation on the menu? (Tsingtao, for instance, at a Chinese restaurant.) And if you order it, it turns out that it’s always a pale lager that tastes vaguely like Heineken? That’s exactly what this was.
Boon’s has local craft beers, and next time I’d get one of those instead.
Will there be a next time? Almost certainly. Boon’s does Thai differently than, say, Durango’s Sizzling Siam or Thai Kitchen, making it a pleasant alternative, especially whenever you find yourself in downtown Farmington.
Boon’s Family Thai BBQ is located at 321 W. Main St. in Farmington. For more information, visit boonsthai.com or call (505) 325-5556.Nick Gonzales