Rearn Thai offers authentic, cheap options

by Eric Ginsburg

Everyone has their own favorite curry dish at Rearn Thai. (photo by Alexandria Stewart)

When trying to articulate why Rearn Thai is a personal favorite, I usually tell the same story. After returning from Thailand and Vietnam, my friend Shaina came to Rearn Thai with me and was so impressed with the quality of the food she said it rivaled what she ate in Thailand. That’s what I call authentic.

Rearn Thai seats approximately 75 people inside and an additional 30 outside. Natural light streams in during the day because three walls are nearly all windows. Equipped with a well-stocked bar, Rearn Thai is decorated with tapestries hanging where the ceiling would be if it weren’t vaulted. There is only one television, a perk to people like me who are easily distracted and would be bad company otherwise.

One of the appeals of Rearn Thai is the number of affordable options.

Monday through Saturday there are daily lunch specials for $6.09 that come with a spring roll. My go-to order is the massamun curry, but I experimented with the cashew chicken Saturday lunch special on my last trip.

Served with mushrooms, carrots, scallions and rice, the cashew chicken is covered in a delicious dark sauce. The cashews complement the chicken well, and while I plan to return to my favorite in the future, I was not disappointed.

The appetizers I’ve tried — steamed pork dumplings and fresh vegetable spring rolls — were both delicious. The dumplings come with a savory “special sauce” and are a dollar cheaper than the mouthwatering fresh vegetable spring rolls The most popular dishes among the customers I know are the curries, and everyone has their favorite. I swear by the massamun curry and often find myself craving it. The curry dishes come with vegetable and bean curd ($8.95), chicken, pork or beef ($9.95) or other meats for more. I used to be vegetarian and often still choose massamun with vegetable and bean curd, though I recommend the chicken too. All of the curry dishes come in bowls with a flame under them and a plate with rice.

The red curry is less sweet than the massamun but still more so than the panang. My girlfriend swears by the red curry, and recoiled slightly at the suggestion she experiment. It is loaded with vegetables: mushrooms, carrots, red peppers, broccoli, baby corn, celery, bamboo shoots and cauliflower. It’s hotter and can burn your mouth if you aren’t careful.

Spicier choices are a little more risky at Rearn Thai because water refills come slowly. The same two waitresses have worked every time I’ve been in and they are efficient to a point of rushing you, suggesting the restaurant is understaffed.

With no other evidence than personal experience and a few corroborating statements from friends, I’d argue that the same dishes served at dinner taste better than when served at lunch time. In this case, paying more is worth it.

I’m usually too full after chowing down on dinner to want dessert, but I’m always glad when I splurge. The Thai coconut ice cream with fried banana is a great choice as the coconut isn’t overwhelming and the dessert is light enough that I don’t need to unbutton my pants. The sticky rice is also popular and comes with coconut ice cream, Thai custard or fresh and sweet mango.

Everything at Rearn Thai has an artistic presentation. Appetizers are enhanced with carrots cut to look like flowers or cilantro garnishes, and the colorful vegetables in many of the meals add to the appeal. Unlike many restaurants, it has never felt loud and they are accommodating of requests to split checks. Rearn Thai decided to forego a website and just create a Facebook page, where you can find their full menu and other details.

I’ve brought picky family members, broke friends and a date here, and everyone has left full and happy. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

wanna go?

Rearn Thai 5120 W. Market St. Greensboro 336.292.5901