9 Tastes

A number of great Thai options
By LIZ BOMZE  |  March 2, 2006

9 TastesIf the crowd of eager diners spilling into every open crevice of 9 Tastes’s foyer was any indication of a promising meal, we had come to the right place. At the end of dinner, my only criticism was that the Harvard Square Thai bistro needs to expand the size of its doorway.

Service was prompt once we were seated, and one bite into the My Thai dumplings ($5.95) was proof enough that the food was worth the wait. The steamed beggar’s purses filled with a mild combination of chicken, crabmeat, and water chestnuts perked up when they were dunked into the viscous soy-sesame dipping sauce. (Admittedly, I continued to dunk my fork into the sauce after the dumplings were long gone.) The particularly hot-and-sour Tom Yum soup ($3.95) — brimming with lemongrass, lime juice, and chili oil — braced the palate for more spicy flavors to come.

Drunken noodles ($7.95) followed suit. Though they were laced with crushed pepper flakes, the wide ribbons of chow foon absorbed the heat and coupled nicely with the wilted sweet Thai basil leaves and the colorful assortment of fresh vegetables. Tofu teriyaki ($8.95) hailed from the vegetarian corner of the menu. Slats of fried tofu sauced in the tangy Japanese-style glaze sat in neat rows beside a pile of sautéed carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, and onions. Most impressive, however, was a trendy take on a Thai classic. Twig-like strands of crispy egg noodles created a nest for chunks of chicken, large shrimp, truncated scallion stalks, bean sprouts, egg, and a garnish of ground peanuts. You can find crispy pad Thai ($8.95) at many other local restaurants, but few executed as well as this.

9 Tastes, 50 JFK Street, Cambridge | Mon-Thurs, 11:30 am-3 pm and 5-10 pm; Fri, 11:30 am-3 pm and 5-10:30 pm;  Sat, noon-10:30 pm; Sunday, noon-10 pm | 617.547.6666.

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