Before even mentioning the food, there is a lot to like about at 399 Bloomfield Ave., in Montclair.
In general, you can always find a table here. In addition, you can usually nab a parking spot on the street along this stretch of Bloomfield, at least in the middle of the day. Finally, the service is friendly and fast. (And, according to friends, this comes in handy when one wants to enjoy a quick dinner before seeing a show at the Wellmont, which is right across the street.)
At first, though, the fact the place was empty at 12:30 p.m. raised a red flag. But the food was superb.
Watched over by portraits of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyade and Queen Sirikit, my friends and I enjoyed a nice array of Thai lunch dishes, priced at between $8.50 and $11.
Particularly yummy was the Chicken Rama for $9.50, flavored with a tasty garlic-peanut-pepper sauce. Also good was the Tilapia with Mango Salad for $11, served with chili sauce, apple, mango, onions, and pineapple. But the Pad Thai, my usual favorite, was particularly superb. When I asked for extra sauce, it was at the table in an instant.
A pleasant surprise was the Thai salad for $4, which included several bits of mango and Granny Smith apples, all topped with a peanut dressing.
Prices go up at dinnertime, when a curry might cost you anywhere from $12 to $18.
Although not overly cheap, the prices here also are not wildly expensive.
And the good thing is that you can choose how spicy you want your food by picking between mild, medium, or hot.
In the end, the combination of reliable dishes, a relaxed atmosphere, and excellent service will keep creating repeat customers.
399 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042