Try some Thai for lunchtime buffet

by Foxy Moxy

Madelyn Greco has a spring-roll epiphany at Greensboro’s Taste of Thai. (photo illustration by Madelyn Greco)

Variety is still the spice of life at one local lunch buffet. I was pleased to discover this recently at Taste of Thai Restaurant in the Westover Gallery of Shops in Greensboro. A popular hot spot for Thai cuisine, Taste of Thai has been operating for over a decade now. The restaurant’s spacious digs provide the choice of both indoor and outdoor dining. On my first visit I was seated and given a lunch menu, which I studied while waiting for a friend to arrive. No mention was made of a lunch buffet. It was pure serendipity that I glanced around and made the discovery on my own. I jumped up to give it a quick, walk around assessment. I decided it looked worthy and returned to the table and closed my menu. When my companion arrived, we made a beeline for the stack of plates at the beginning. We first encountered some golden, crispy spring rolls in a chafing dish. Next to that, an appetizer of sticky rice with tilapia was featured. All the requisite Thai condiments were located within reach, and I filled tiny dishes with hot pepper firepower to further enhance my meal. The soup was a savory coconut with tofu and mushrooms and was absolutely delicious. There were four different mixed salads to choose from. A sweetly tart cabbage salad laced with veggies and peanuts was easily a favorite. What really hooked me that day was the number of different entrees (around nine or ten) to sample. Though I seek to be adventurous, I’m often guilty of sticking to the tried-and-true when ordering from a menu. Taste of Thai’s buffet is a great way to familiarize yourself with the broad spectrum of flavors used in Thai cooking, especially those you may not have previously experienced. I found a solid cross section of dishes represented, from meat based stews and curries to veggie stir-fry and noodle dishes. I’ve returned twice since my first visit and the lunch buffet has expanded my horizons. Standouts for me include familiar favorites like beef mussamun curry and ground chicken basil plus newly sampled dishes like sweet and sour tilapia, herbal stewed chicken and a tantalizingly flaky curried cheese puff pastry. The desserts range from fresh fruit, small cakes and custards to other confections a bit harder to classify. Thai desserts are a new experience for me, and my reaction has been somewhat mixed, mainly due to issues of texture rather than taste. I’ve found several sweet treats worth indulging in though, including an oddly beguiling concoction topped with small black beans. Relaxing after a meal indoors affords you the enjoyment of some of the lovely authentic d’cor. Ornately carved wooden frames hold mirrors or artwork and gilded statuary and greenery abounds. There is an arched footbridge in the center of the restaurant and a large fountain at the entrance, just opposite the bar. Outdoors, the patio with umbrella tables is mostly set apart by a fence and shrouded from the road by thick green bamboo. Aside from the buffet, a number of daily lunch specials are offered. The service here is friendly, unobtrusive and as efficient as necessary for a lunchtime crowd. On my most recent visit, I dined outdoors, necessitating several trips in and out. Servers materialized each time, offering to help carry my plates out or open the doors for me, a very nice touch. Taste of Thai is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Reservations are not necessary. The cost of the lunch buffet is $7.95, a reasonable amount for lunchtime foray into such an exotically spiced world of variety. To comment on this story e-mail

TASTE OF THAI 1500 Mill St. #101 Greensboro 336.273.1318

Madelyn Greco has a spring-roll epiphany at Greensboro’s Taste of Thai. (photo illustration by Madelyn Greco)