The Boy’s mom has recently moved back to the ‘burgh. She is employed at the new Children’s Hospital, a mammoth multi-colored facility over in Lawrenceville. To celebrate her new job and move, The Boy offered up dinner at Pusadee’s Garden (5321 Butler Street), a new Lawrenceville Thai spot.
The night we dined at Pusadee’s, it was warm. We gladly took seats in the outdoor garden area. How nice! You walk through the interior of the restaurant to get to the garden. The interior is lovely. All whites, grays, and cool colors. Feels upscale yet quaint. The garden itself was large – it has to at least double the occupancy of the restaurant. On a Monday night, the garden was quite crowded. Most tables also seemed to be taking advantage of the BYOB policy ($1 per stem corking fee).
The menu contains appetizers, salads, soups, noodles, curries, and rice dishes. The menu is primarily Thai influenced. Our table started the night by ordering the curry puffs and the pork dumplings as appetizers.
Before coming to dinner, I (of course) sought out online reviews of Pusadee’s – most commented on very slow and painful service. To be quite honest, I experienced none of this during my visit. You could tell the servers were busy but we really had no service related issues. My water glass was continually refilled, the food came out promptly, our bill was easily paid. Either we caught the place on a good night or they are working on improving the service.
The appetizers were tasty. The curry puffs were pastries filled with almost pureed squash and veggies. Warm and satisfying. The pork dumplings were light on the dumpling and heavy on the filling – very nice. The appetizer portions were not large (2 curry puffs, 4 dumplings) but were clearly freshly made.
As entrées, our table ordered chicken pad thai, a duck noodle dish, and a cabbage salad. I actually ordered the cabbage salad – it was not really entrée size (and did not claim to be) but I knew between the appetizers and sharing of the other dishes, I would be full.
The cabbage salad was crisp and well balanced – cabbage, tomato, peanuts, carrots, other veggies, a light and spicy peanut based dressing. The cabbage and veggies were finely shredded – I enjoy salads like that.
The duck noodle dish was satisfying – the duck was tender, the sauce light and fragrant, the pin-thin rice noodles tender. The Boy eagerly lapped this up.
The chicken pad thai was equally yummy. Although I thought it might contain more veggies, the flavors were lovely – sweet, with a touch of heat.
None of the dishes were overwhelmingly spicy, although I did get some heat here and there throughout the evening. I am not sure if you can request more heat in the pad thai? I often hear/read complaints about Thai and other ethnic foods not living up to ‘authentic’ heat levels. However, The Boy mentioned that even in Bangkok, the pad thai was normally not that hot. Can anyone chime in on this?
I would like to mention that the plating was also surprisingly minimalistic and clean. The portions were more than adequate but not overwhelming – everyone at the table finished their entrées. The experience was certainly a step above your local Thai takeout joint. Additionally, the damage came out to around $45 – the BYO certainly helped out the bill, but this was still very reasonable, considering it was dinner and apps for three.
To note, I was under the impression, particularly after reading the recent PG review, that Pusadee’s was either owned by or somehow affiliated with Typhoon (see previous review here), located in Shadyside. However, at dinner, we overheard a nearby table asking about this – the waitress replied they were not affiliated with Typhoon. (After re-reading the article, I see it does not mention anything about ownership or a business relationship- it only mentions a ‘familial’ one – fair enough).
I believe Pusadee’s is open for lunch and is open 7 days a week for dinner (the waitress happened to mention to us that they will close on Mondays after the summer season is over). I cannot find a website for Pusadee’s Garden, but the above linked PG review contains logistical information for the place – check it out!
Of the ‘new’ restaurants I have recently tried (Pusadee’s Garden, Paris 66 Bistro, and Yo Rita), I think this was the standout. This was a great dinner enjoyed in a quaint garden setting – can’t beat that 🙂