Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
The owners of Santa Rosa’s Bangkok Villa opened Tomi Thai Restaurant in Windsor (26 Emily Rose Circle, Windsor, 707.836.1422, the former Odyssey) with a menu that may be familiar to locals. Pulling from their original location, fans will recognize many of the restaurant’s signature dishes — pumpkin curry ($10.95), Crying Tiger (charbroiled ribeye with spicy garlic sauce, $13.95), Honey Duck ($13.95) and Dancing Prawns (jumbo prawns stuffed with crab and pork, $13.95), along with simpler dishes of pad thai; red green and yellow curry, drunken noodles and vegetarian entrees.
Inside, the restaurant hasn’t changed much since Chef Rudy Mihal left — the same glowing bar (which sits mostly empty, though the restaurant does serve beer and wine), a mute television screen along the back wall and open kitchen (which seems strange with a crew of cooks rather than Rudy).
Mirroring its upscale digs, Tomi Thai seems to be striving for some of the Pan-Asian flavors and high-end presentations that have been successful for Sea Thai’s Chef Tony Ounpamornchai. But the devil’s in the details. Jumbo prawns (Bangkok Dancing Prawns) are lovely to look at, but aren’t easy to eat with shells on and legs baked into the stuffing. Honey duck is beautifully plated with pickled ginger and greens, but too much fatty meat derails its simplicity. Pad Thai looks beautiful, on my visit was sticky and dry. Battered and skewered shrimp paste balls and rings of calamari are tasty, but the tiny portion-size makes $8 a bit dear for an appetizer.
More traditional dishes work better, a mild yellow curry with potatoes and chicken and fresh rolls studded with mint both satisfy. Marinated ribeye steak (Crying Tiger) is nicely done, but needs a bit more char to hit the mark exactly. Homemade peanut sauce is a solid sauce for everything from satay to fried tofu.
Attentive, thoughtful service and mostly reasonable prices ($8.95 for most entrees, $10-$15 for specialties; $4 for soup) make Tomi Thai a solid contender in Thai-scarce Windsor. But it’s all about details if they’re to overcome stiff competition from neighboring Asian kitchens Chinois, Truc-Linh, Sunju and Ume.
Tomi Thai . Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. tomi-thai.com