It was a sort of last minute question, but when some dinner plans fell through, I asked Dad if he wanted to have dinner together at some place new.
â€œCan we have Thai food?â€ he asked with his eyes lighting up like diamonds in the Cartier showcase. How could I say no? So, it was time for another episode of â€œDining with Dad.â€
After getting the car filled with gas, Dad and I headed out on a trek to find a Thai restaurant that I had heard good things about. However, I was a bit concerned about the location because the address placeed it right in Sun City. Now, I have nothing against Sun City and I wonâ€™t be moving there any time soon. But Sun City is what it is and I was surprised to find that a Thai restaurant would be doing any business where butter is often considered a spice.
Still, I was determined to find my way to Line Thai. Taking I-10 to the 101 north and then getting off at the Bell Road exit, I was pleasantly surprised to find the place just a short distance from the freeway. This made it a fairly easy drive.
We pulled into the lot and I joked with Dad about the lack of golf carts and men wearing loud, plaid polyester pants. After parking the car, we entered not knowing what to expect. To my amazement, the interior was decorated in lots of gold and wooden hues with a Buddha statue giving us a warm welcome. The lobby was large and a host took us down a small hallway that opened into a large dining room. Dad and I were seated at a large booth against the far wall.
We were given menus and told our server would be with us shortly. As I looked over the menu, Dad was taken in by the restaurant. The interior was comfortable and clean. I loved the artwork on the walls and the Asian touches that made the place stand out.
Our server arrived with water and a willingness to answer any questions. Dad put his trust in me so I placed my order. To begin, I had to try the Chicken Satay ($6.50) and a serving of Thai Egg Rolls ($2.00). I also couldnâ€™t turn down trying the Fried Bananas ($6.25). For our entrees, I selected the Moo Daeng/Thai BBQ Pork with Cucumbers ($7.95) for Dad and the Phad Phrik Khing ($7.95) for myself. We also ordered a Diet Coke ($1.75) for myself and a cup of coffee ($1.75) for Dad.
Our server said he would return with our drinks. We apparently had arrived at the right time because the dining room was filling up fast. It was a mixture of Sun City types as well as people from neighboring Peoria. From teens to senior citizens, the place had a good crowd.
When our waiter returned with our drinks, he was also sporting our Thai Egg Rolls. There were two plump rolls with a garnish of shredded cabbage and carrots. They were served with a sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard. We had to wait for them to cool because we couldnâ€™t even carry them from the serving plate to our individual plates without causing burns to our fingers. When they did cool, I cut into one with my fork releasing a billow of steam. The wrapper was exceptionally crisp and crunchy and several of the layers shattered under the weight of the fork. The interior was filled with plenty of vegetables that had not succumbed to the heat but were bright and fresh. We liked the spring rolls, but they needed just a bit of seasoning to really bring out the flavor of the vegetables.
Our Chicken Satay arrived within minutes after the spring rolls. The large platter had four big, meaty skewers of grilled chicken with several toast points. The traditional cucumber salad and peanut sauce were served on the side. The chicken was sizzling hot. I pulled the meat off the skewer and dressed it with the peanut sauce. Taking a bite, I immediately noticed how juicy the chicken was. It was perfectly cooked and a wonderful presentation. Dad was thrilled with it, and said he liked the thick peanut sauce that accompanied the chicken. This was another winner.
The last appetizer to arrive was the Fried Bananas. I was a bit hesitant to order them because I have never been one to be a fan of anything particularly sweet to begin my meal outside of a cocktail, but these seemed to be so novel that I had to at least try them. Dad had similar trepidations, but at the end of our first bite, we were more than happy that we did try them. The tempura-like batter was light, airy and full of crunch while the bananas were still warm. They were not mushy nor hard as rocks, but soft with a bit of resistance when bitten. The honey sauce that we spooned over them was a bit of overkill because it was so sweet, but the fritters themselves were stellar.
After a slight wait, our entrees arrived. Dadâ€™s Thai BBQ Pork with Cucumbers was a plate of slices of pork in a pungent BBQ sauce that made the meat glow in shades of maroon and burgundy. Along side the pork was a serving of sliced cucumbers and some other shredded vegetables that made up the garnish. The slices were soft and tender and cooked thoroughly without being dried out or tough. Dad and I liked the flavor of the meat and the sauce, but both agreed it would have been better if the sweet edge of the sauce had been replaced with more spice. Still, we did enjoy the pork and the cucumber combination.
My Phad Phrik Khing was quite good. I loved the abundance of green beans that were tender crisp and brilliant in color. The pork slices had absorbed a good amount of the sauce and were flavorful. The sauce itself was spicy, savory and plentiful. I liked the fact that they didnâ€™t skimp on the beans for this dish. Far too often, the beans are almost treated as an afterthought, but these were an equal match to the pork. Dad loved this dish but said if he ordered it again, he would have the kitchen increase the spice level.
We finished our meals and debated about dessert. Dad was still nibbling at the fried bananas, but I wanted something else. I decided to go with the Coconut Custard ($2.50). Our server asked if we wanted any coffee or tea with dessert, but we declined.
He returned within minutes holding a saucer and my Coconut Custard. The small cup of custard was a yellowish brown in color with what looked to be a crispy top similar to a crÃ¨me brulee. Instead, it was simply the coconut that had floated to the top before the custard had set. I took a spoonful and loved the flavor. It was a mixture of subtle flavors, like a quality vanilla. The custard was slightly chilled which I found a perfect temperature for the dessert. Dad liked it as well, noting how it didnâ€™t have an overpowering coconut flavor. Between this and the remainder of the bananas, we were quite happy.
With our stomachs full and a desire to head back to Phoenix, we asked for our bill. The total was $35.24 which included tax and which we thought was a great value. The service was good, but there was one long stretch where the entire wait staff seemed to have evacuated the floor and we couldnâ€™t find anyone to flag down for some refills on our drinks. Other than that, service was fine.
We were very pleased with Line Thai. Itâ€™s convenient location just off the 101 and the very good food made the trek to Sun City not as daunting as we had thought. Dad and I both said we would return to Line Thai if in the neighborhood.
As we pulled out of the parking lot onto Bell Road, I noticed the huge mob of people waiting outside of the Cocoâ€™s that was next door to Line Thai. Clearly, there was a long wait and I thought to myself how those individuals were waiting for their shot at another mundane burger or salad in a safe restaurant that wouldnâ€™t challenge their taste buds or their sensibilities.
That was okay with Dad and me. We were just as happy to have Line Thai without the huge mobs clamoring to get in.
9805 West Bell Road
Sun City, AZ 85351
Hours: Monday through Friday – 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM and 5 PM to 9 PM; Saturday – 11 AM to 9 PM; Sunday – 11 AM to 8 PM.
Notes: On the south side of Bell Road. Convenient to the 101 freeway.
Alcohol: Cocktail, beer and wine service.