Bite Of The Day: Creamy Panang Curry At To B Thai

Penang Curry at To B Thai. (Photo by Carly Miller / Ditmas Park Corner)
Panang Curry Lunch Special at To B Thai. (Photo by Carly Miller / Ditmas Park Corner)

Though I used to live down the block from To B Thai, a modest looking Thai restaurant at 126 Beverley Road at the corner of East 2nd Street, I never went in. It looked like a standard greasy Pad-Thai joint, and Kensington isn’t known for its stellar Thai cuisine.

But the first time I ventured into the seven-table restaurant, I was surprised that every dish I tasted — from curry puffs to to noodles, was exceptionally flavorful and fresh. Since then, I look forward to regular comforting meals at To B Thai for lunch and dinner, and the waitresses smile knowingly when I order the same couple of dishes every week.

The lunch special ($7.95) is a lot of food for less than $10, with a spiced vegetable broth or ginger-dressing salad appetizer. Both options include a spring roll stuffed with cellophane noodles and cabbage.

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Lunch special appetizer (Photo by Carly Miller / Ditmas Park Corner)

However, I can hardly resist one of my two favorite appetizers (not on the lunch special menu) — Curry Puffs (curried chicken, potato and onion stuffed in a greasy pastry with a vinegar-tasting dipping sauce, $4.95) or Veggie Dumplings ($4.95) — a sticky blend of water chestnuts and steamed veggies wrapped in a thin, pinched wonton and sprinkled with cilantro garnish.

Vegetable Dumplings (Photo by Carly Miller / Ditmas Park Corner)
Vegetable Dumplings (Photo by Carly Miller / Ditmas Park Corner)

The Panang Curry ($10.50 for a huge dinner portion, $7.95 for lunch) is my favorite dish. The medium-firm tofu is dense and soft, not fried or spongy like you sometimes find at restaurants. The string beans, carrots and broccoli are always crunchy, even soaked in a hearty curry.

The curry broth is thick and flavorful, perfect for soaking into rice or slurping right off the spoon. The smooth, rich coconut-meaty flavor smooths the red chili pepper bite, so it’s just spicy enough to make your nose run by the end of the meal — but not so spicy that it burns your mouth while eating. The curry comes in chicken, beef, tofu and duck varieties.

Panang Curry at To B Thai. (Photo by Carly Miller / Ditmas Park Corner)
Panang Curry at To B Thai. (Photo by Carly Miller / Ditmas Park Corner)

The quality of the food and the convenient location (on my way home from the Church Avenue F/G train) make me a loyal To B Thai customer, but there are a few caveats to note:

  • To B Thai is cash only and the ATM at the bodega next door charges a high fee, so come with cash.
  • Careful when ordering curry for delivery — I have ended up with Panang puddles more than once from a shoddy plastic lid. However, when I called and told them what happened, they sent me a new curry free of charge.
  • For dining in, there are two good tables facing the floor-to-ceiling windows, but most of the seating hovers around a TV that is always tuned to CNN, which has lately been a constant stream of Trump headlines and sound bites. A bit unappetizing, if you ask me.

Visit To B Thai at 126 Beverley Road between East 2nd Street and Church Avenue, or call at (718) 435-0459. 

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