638 2nd Street SE (Downtown) Medicine Hat
Monday - Friday 11am - 2:30pm, 4:30pm - 9pm
Saturday 4:30pm - 9pm
Sunday & holidays - closed
My BFF (Best Friend Forever, for those of you who don't know the acronym), Jeanette was visiting from France, which of course necessitates dinner out at one of the ethnic restaurants that my husband refuses to go to. This was my opportunity to check out Sabai Infusion since their renovations.
- I had no problem finding a parking spot right up from the restaurant, though that may be a different story at lunch time, when the downtown is much more congested.
- I loved the decor, it's modern with clean lines and unique lighting. I also appreciated that the customers weren't all clumped together in one area of the restaurant, the servers seated us far apart enough to give us some privacy.
- Maybe it's just me, but I found it to be cold, so be sure to take a sweater.
I've realized that when it comes to eating out, I always end up ordering the most recognized dish of whatever nationality the restaurant is. Greek? Kebabs and Greek salad (which is a bit of an oxymoron isn't it?). Ukrainian? Pierogies. Indian? Butter Chicken.
So it should come as no surprise that we ordered spring rolls to start, followed by Pad Thai, Red Chu Chee Chicken and coconut rice.
Jeanette, whose discerning palate wasn't dulled one bit by a head cold, was fairly certain that the spring rolls weren't handmade at the restaurant. She was of the opinion that they were probably pre-made and frozen and then just cooked prior to serving. I agree with her. They were unremarkable, neither sensational nor repulsive, just ho-hum. They seemed comparable to what you might get from a frozen box at Costco. They came with a pretty standard sweet chili dipping sauce. The best local spring rolls I've had are across the street from Sabai at the Vietnamese restaurant (but I'll save that for another review).
I was a little concerned that the spring rolls were harbingers of a mediocre main course, but thankfully I was wrong. The Pad Thai was superb. The flavours and textures were perfectly balanced, with a subtle hint of smokiness that I've never tasted in Pad Thai before. The Chu Chee Chicken with vegetables in a red curry and coconut milk sauce had that wonderfully distinctive taste of fish sauce which was balanced by the sweetness of the coconut milk and the mild spice of the chilies. Coconut rice has the potential to shine on it's own in Thai cooking, but I found that this coconut rice was not distinctive enough to warrant eating on it's own. I found it a bit dry and not as rich as some coconut rice I've had in the past. It did serve as an effective vehicle for the sauce from the Chu Chee though.
|Clockwise from top centre: Coconut Rice, Chu Chee Chicken, Pad Thai
I found the prices to be very reasonable. Each main course dish averaged between $13 and $16 which I felt was appropriate for the serving sizes. There was more than enough food for the two of us, with enough leftover to take home for a midnight snack. Also, what gives Sabai extra points in this area is that the decor makes you feel like you are having a fine dining experience while paying family restaurant prices.
The service was average. We were seated quickly, and were able to get our drinks and order taken in a timely fashion, but then there was a looong wait before we got our spring rolls. We weren't even half finished our appetizer when the main dishes were brought out, which made us feel rushed. This wasn't a dealbreaker though.
I would recommend Sabai Thai Infusion, as it gives you a delicious meal for a good value. I will definitely be returning to eat more of their wonderful Pad Thai.