Anyone who knows me understands my love for spice, but as I continue to explore new flavors, my appreciation for food expands beyond Scoville scale. Growing up, I have always been a fan of Eastern cuisines like classic takeout Chinese, however; I always felt ignorant toward Thai food, and was never really fond of curry. I suppose that initial intimidation wasn’t overwhelming enough to sway my curiosity. Eventually, I decided to take my taste buds to Thailand — well, down the street to Thai Bistro in Littleton for their Pepper and Basil (Pad-Prik) dish.
The first thing I noticed when eating Pad-Prik ($8 lunch, $12.50 dinner) was the explosion of flavor from one bite to the next. The Pad-Prik dish combines both spicy and sweet — made with basil leaves, green and red bell peppers, jalapeño, chili pepper, mushrooms and onion — with the addition of a light broth and a side of steamed rice to cut down the intensity, creating an authentic and harmonious dish.
The chefs at Thai Bistro in Littleton are originally from Thailand. Each dish can be customized with the choice of protein and spice level for an individual’s palate. Protein options include beef, pork, seafood and chicken. Tofu is an available vegetarian option. Spice levels include mild for those timid to spice, medium, hot and extra hot if you really want to clear out your sinuses. With so much to choose from, I have found the best Pad-Prik dish is ordered with chicken at a medium heat for the perfect zing and then paired with a glass of Montevina Pinot Grigio ($7).
It’s no wonder Thai Bistro has been open since 1999. In the few times I dined in, I found the peaceful and intimate setting continuously enhancing my appreciation for Thai cuisine and culture. It’s an atmosphere where you find yourself staying longer, ordering a second glass of wine and learning from their knowledgeable waitresses about the variety of unique Thai dishes on the menu.
Whether you’re a spicy food fanatic or you just want your Thai fix, make sure this small Littleton restaurant is on your bucket list next time you’re hungry.
Pepper and Basil aka Pad-Prik ($8 Lunch, $12.50 Dinner)
Thai Bistro is located at 5924 S. Kipling Pkwy. in Littleton. 720-981-7600. Its hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sundays 4-9 p.m.