We all have a go-to takeout Thai spot that we swear is better than any other. My personal favorite is Thai Restaurant located on Augusta Road. Some nights, there’s nothing better than a massive portion of spicy, heartwarming Pad Thai straight from a Styrofoam box. When Basil opened its doors in downtown Greenville, I was skeptical if it could maintain the same consistency that I get from takeout Thai, but here’s the thing…It’s not trying to be takeout Thai.
Owners Henry and Chai Eang, who also happen to be brothers, immigrated from Cambodia in the 1970s with a vision to bring authentic Thai cuisine to the southeast United States. Their first location opened in Charleston, SC and after years of progression and rave reviews, several other locations popped up. Luckily, Henry and Chai decided upon Greenville to be their next venture.
Basil’s expansive menu offers a variety of authentic Thai dishes from appetizers, soups and salads to specialties and entrees. It’s quite a challenge to choose just one dish to order, so I highly suggest going with a group of friends and ordering a few to share. I dined at Basil with another foodie, and we shared the Fresh Basil Rolls, Green Curry with Chicken, Shrimp Fried Rice, and two desserts. At the end of our meal, we realized that none of the dishes were too spicy, but you could add heat as needed with their signature sauces on the table.
The Basil Rolls are such a simple, fresh dish to start your meal. They are stuffed with shrimp, rice noodles, lettuce, bean sprouts and basil then wrapped in rice paper. Just the roll alone is wonderful, with the subtle flavors of fresh basil and shrimp, but don’t forget about Chef Suntorn’s sweet and spicy house sauce served alongside.
I absolutely adore curry dishes. Nothing is as comforting and delicious as slightly creamy, flavorful curry spooned atop sticky white rice. Basil’s curry ups the ante by somehow incorporating a burst of freshness I’ve never noticed in a curry dish before. Their green curry sauce has a subtle heat, a balanced flavor of kaffir lime and comes mixed with bell peppers, bamboo shoots, eggplants, green peas and basil. We asked for our curry with chicken, but honestly I wouldn’t have missed the protein one bit. I could’ve eaten the curry with a spoon.
Shrimp Fried Rice…doesn’t sound too exciting right? Well, Basil’s fried rice is in a whole other category. The savory, flavorful rice is delicious as is, but comes incorporated with onions, scallions, carrots, green peas, egg and shrimp. This dish was the ideal canvas for tasting all of the house sauces. That little added heat was just what this understated, yet oh so tasty dish needed. An added bonus: Fried Rice makes for some pretty amazing leftovers.
After eating a large quantity of Thai food, dessert should be something refreshing, cool and not overly sweet. We decided upon the Mango Sticky Rice. About halfway through this initial dessert, Chai insisted we try the Trio of Creme Brulee. The Mango Sticky Rice comes with beautiful slices of fresh mango, as well as a bed of sticky rice covered with a decadent coconut based sauce. The slightly tart flavor of the mango was the perfect counterpart to the creamy, sweet rice. The Trio of Crème Brulee was truly something special. Three little ramekins come to the table full of three different flavors of crème brulee: Chocolate, Coconut and Green Tea. Each flavor had that torched crust just waiting to be broken into with creamy filling hidden underneath, but the flavor that stole my heart was the coconut. I urge you to try all three and decided for yourself.
I am anxiously awaiting my next visit to Basil Thai Restaurant in the hopes of trying many more of their authentic Thai dishes including Basil Duck, Larb, Pad Woon Sen and other names I can’t quite pronounce. Part of the fun of going out to eat is trying new dishes and experiencing other cultures. With a contemporary, hip atmosphere like Basil, and owners like Chai and Henry who are committed to perfection, it’s the perfect place for just that.
Basil is located at 9 N. Laurens Street in One City Plaza. They are open for dinner Monday – Thursday from 5pm – 10pm, Friday & Saturday from 5pm – 11pm and Sunday from 5pm – 10pm. Stay tuned for their lunch hours!