Tucked in a narrow slice in a smallish shopping center is a Thai restaurant that should not be missed. At Thai BBQ is an authentic family owned eatery. Jason Sithichai and his sister, Trisha Alvarado have followed in the footsteps of their parents, who have owned Thai Original BBQ in Cerritos since 1986. Jason saw a need in the burgeoning Temecula Valley for quality ethnic restaurants. The restaurant is truly family owned and operated. Jason, 29, describes himself as the “chef, busboy and janitor.” His 31-year-old sister still teaches full-time, as does his fiancé, Christine. They both still finds time to serve nearly full-time at the restaurant after school.
At Thai BBQ focuses on healthy and delicious grilled entrees. Customers will find their favorites like Pad Thai, made with the freshest possible rice noodles. “The noodles are still hot when they are delivered in the morning,” Jason says, explaining the unusually flavorful taste and texture of the Pad Thai. The combination of high-quality ingredients and deft preparation make the classic dish something special.
The soups, served hot-pot style, are flavorful and complex. The Tom Kha Gai, a coconut milk based hot and sour soup came packed with straw mushrooms and chicken. The lemongrass offset the slight richness of the soup, while the whole Serrano chili gave it just enough heat.
The Beef Sate is tender, marinated beef, skewered and grilled, and served with a savory, and just sweet peanut butter sauce and fresh cucumber salad. A chili tray with red chili sauce, sliced Serrano chilies and chili powder allow diners to customize the heat of their dishes. The unusual Thai Iced Tea, creamy and sweet, cools things off very effectively if one gets too enthusiastic with the spices.
The long narrow interior is modern and attractive. There is none of the kitsch one may associate with Thai Restaurants, instead it is decorated in soothing tones, the only nod to its origin the lovely photographs of Thailand, taken by Jason himself. There is also a “local artists wall” where a variety of artists display painting and artwork for sale.
At Thai BBQ offers catering and the entire menu to go. It is located in the Fresh and Easy shopping center on Margarita and Murrieta Hot Springs. It is a perfect neighborhood restaurant, but the fresh flavors and warm proprietors make it worth going out of your way for.