Thai Barn Na
Thai Barn Na is a Thai restaurant that offers halal, vegan and gluten-free options, plus a secret menu with fewer run-of-the-mill dishes.
Husband and wife team, Atchapong Wongkhamchan (Goff) and Anita Brahma are behind the latest storefront.
Goff learned how to cook from his parents and fellow restauranteurs over in New York, with the name of his restaurant named after the old barns or rice storehouses he grew up seeing in Maha Sarakham, Thailand.
With Brahma born in Bangkok, both of them work together to bring the everyday Thai dishes to their neighbourhood, making a point of not serving Americanized versions of the food they miss most.
Goff makes each dish from scratch in the kitchen where a flaming wok is central to most everything and seemingly frivolous ingredients and nuanced differences of fresh and dried chilies are revered with utmost importance.
The Thai go-to, pad kra prao ($15.95) is made with a specific type of basil called holy basil. If you weren't sure just how critical the specific herb is to the meal, the name of the dish literally translates to holy basil.
Goff and Brahma tell me even though it's really what makes the dish, plenty of Thai restaurants make the stir fry with Thai basil in place of its more velvety, peppery relative since it can be harder to find.
Another dish with a surprising lead actor is the pad see ew ($15.95). The protein only supports the standout flat rice noodles, which are made by hand and delivered fresh daily.
Just like for all the dishes, you get to choose your spice level based on a 0-6 heat scale, zero being no spice at all and six being Thai spicy.
Khao soi ($16.95) is done with soft and crispy egg noodles in a golden, coconut curry. Curry paste is made in-house with bell peppers (fresh for more of a kick) for all of the curries on the menu.
Mussaman curry ($16.95) is the most unique made with the addition of Indian spices like coriander, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and star anise. The beef slow-braises and marries the range of flavours for an hour and a half in a pressure cooker, equivalent to 16 hours in a regular pot.
Basil eggplant ($15.95) is just one of the vegan items on the menu when served with tofu. Thai basil, garlic and bell peppers bring a subtle flavour to the veggies that are charred on the wok before being plated.
TBN fried chicken ($10.95) is slathered in their signature sweet chili garlic sauce and gets a bamboo chute of sticky rice on the side.
Curry fish ($14.95) is one of the exclusive items on their secret menu, which is shared on Instagram every once in and while. You'll have to preorder this plate of whole smelt fish in curry paste as only limited quantities are available.
Thai milk tea ($4.95) is made with an extra drizzle of condensed milk on top for an extra hit of sweetness and comes in a massive mug. It's exactly the cup you'll want close by if you're going for Thai spicy.
Thai Iced Limeade Tea ($4.95) comes in an equally as large glass of Thai black tea and fresh-squeezed lime juice.
If the Thai teas don't sate your sweet tooth, there's coconut tapioca ($6.95). The warm pudding gets its vibrant blue colour from butterfly pea flowers. Chunks of young coconut flesh bring even more texture and flavour to the tiny tapioca.