When an acclaimed local chef tells you to check out a new restaurant, you know it’s worth investigating. In our case, the chef was Barry Edelman of Five Corners Kitchen and the restaurant was Thai Market in Marblehead. Located on Hawkes street in the old Sticky Rice location, Thai Market is owned by chef Tom Kanchananaga and his wife. And we’ll confess, since Barry recommended it a few weeks ago, we’ve eaten there or ordered takeout three or four times already. It’s that good.
What makes Thai Market worth return visits? The freshness and quality are amazing. The chef makes everything fresh on site; the shumai ($6) are a perfect example. Shumai ordered at most Asian restaurants are exactly the same; prefab and predictable. Thai Market’s are handmade, so both the texture and flavor are more intense.
The satay skewers ($5) are small, but the meat is tender and perfectly grilled, and the Paper Shrimp ($6) are crispy tasty morsels that don’t need a drop of plum sauce. The Tom Yum soup ($4) is delicious, with an addictive, spicy lemongrass broth.
The entrees are where Thai Market really shines, though. Chef Kanchananaga is a master at making sauces that are lush but not heavy, and he packs every dish with gorgeous vegetables. We’re not talking the standard onions and peppers here. He uses fat sugar snap peas, fresh zucchini, squash, crisp green beans, bok choy, and even crunchy lotus root. One of our favorites so far is the Seafood Panang ($16) that features both shrimp and tender scallops along with those veggies in a medium spiced red curry.
We also tried the Ginger Fish ($18), red snapper served whole, crispy and savory on the outside and delicate and flaky on the inside. The Vegetable Drunken Noodles ($11) featured a symphony of veggies with a pleasing spicy basil garlic sauce. Even an old standard like Pad Thai ($11) is a little different, with the noodles slightly more al dente, so it’s got a lovely bite.
They don’t serve alcohol yet, but were just approved by Marblehead’s Board of Selectmen for a beer and wine license, so as soon as the paperwork goes through, they will be adding it to their offerings. In the mean time, the Thai Iced Tea ($2) is worth consideration.
So far, Thai Market hasn’t garnered much attention from the locals, so we urge you to head over and try it out. Chef Kanchananaga is just starting out and can’t support much of a staff yet, but don’t be put off if there’s a bit of a wait. Your meal will be worth it. And if you run into Barry Edelman picking up dinner for his family, tell him we said hello.
26 Hawkes Street, Marblehead