This past weekend on craveRADIO we hosted Chef Tiffany Derry who raved about a restaurant that at one time she lived very close to. ZENse Thai is located on MacArthur Blvd, and in a shopping center where there are mostly Indian restaurants and shops, which makes this Thai restaurant a stand out. It just happens that the food is incredible. Derry is so taken with the restaurant that she often stages at ZENse to “sharpen her wok skills”.
Derry was kind enough to extend an invitation for lunch yesterday and we happily agreed. Along for lunch was co-host Uno Immaninvong who has an affinity for Thai having grown up with these flavors. We were also able to use Chef Uno to listen in to the kitchen talk which was not nearly as amusing as I had hoped. It was all work for the ladies who run ZENse.
Derry guided us through the menu suggesting her favorites, which was about half the menu. The other items would have to wait for another visit.
The flavors of the dishes were bright and fresh. The spice levels can be high, but you can direct your wait staff to suit your needs. We went across the board medium, and all was fine for this guy, except one occasion where I decided to breathe in a green curry instead of eating it.
Uno was particularly excited to sample the Laarb Gai, which is one of her signature dishes. The dish did not disappoint and was extremely flavorful. This is best eaten with a bit of sticky rice hand wrapped in a lettuce leaf. All the ingredients are then scooped and devoured whole.
The Tom Kha soup is made to order and the restaurant uses only coconut milk as a base instead of water or chicken broth. This gives the vegetarian a chance to order sans the delicate strips of chicken. Very rich and packed full of flavor.
The Green Curried Beef was most likely my favorite dish of the day, but I have an affinity for those flavors. The dish is served full of chunky ingredients, including a freshly prepared green chile paste in a coconut broth with snappy green beans, soy beans, eggplant and basil.
Derry mentioned that she enjoyed a whole fish in the past, but it needs to be ordered a day ahead of time so the owners can buy the fish fresh at the market, which is where they spend their mornings in preparation.
ZENse is now being added to permanent rotation for many future visits.
ZENse Thai | 8600 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving | 972.401.0099