By Jessi Loerch Herald writer
I heard about Zab Thai in Everett for the first time when a friend was telling me about his favorite Thai place.
I was looking for a new place to try and he talked lovingly about their food. He liked it so much, he said, that one year he’d counted it up and found he’d been there more than 30 times, even though it wasn’t conveniently located near his home.
So, I’ll admit I was expecting good food at Zab Thai. Happily, I wasn’t disappointed.
I went out with my husband recently for a quiet dinner.
Zab Thai has a comfortable, brightly colored dining room. A large mural on the wall is fun to look at when you’re done perusing the menu.
We started off with the entertainingly named Money Bags ($7.95). The appetizer was pork with carrot and peas wrapped up and tied to look like money bags, and then deep fried. They were, frankly, adorable.
It was fun to eat them, although we had to be careful on the first bite; they were extremely hot. The pork was a bit bland to my taste, but the accompanying dipping sauce made up for that. It was brightly flavored and went well with the pork.
We didn’t try it, because it was too much for just the two of us, but the appetizer sampler with satay, spring rolls, crab wontons, pork wraps and fried prawns also looks delicious.
We did order Poh Taek ($10.95), a seafood soup with crabs, prawns, mussels, calamari and scallops in a hot and sour broth with cherry tomatoes, lemon grass, lime leaves and lime juice. It was fabulous. Everything tasted fresh and the strong lemon grass flavor went nicely with the spice. We asked for a 3 and I thought it was the perfect amount of spiciness.
For a main course, I ordered Swimming Rama with fried tofu ($9.95) and my husband had garlic pork ribs ($13.95).
The tofu in the Swimming Rama was perfect. I loved fried tofu, and this is some of the best I’ve ever hard. It was just the right mix of crisp and soft and it was delicious with the peanut sauce and spinach. They also weren’t stingy with it.
The spinach was also nicely done, just barely steamed and not at all mushy. The sauce was a smidge too sweet for my taste, but I ate nearly all of it anyway. My husband finished the rest.
My husband’s order of pork ribs was also a winner. It was packed with flavor, tender and messy. Very messy. If you order this, just give up on the fork and knife and eat it with your hands. It’s worth it.
The entrees come with rice, either jasmine or brown. We had one of each, and they were both overcooked, a low point in an otherwise sparkling meal.
While I doubt I’ll manage to get to Zab Thai 30 times in a year, I know I’ll be back for sure. The menu is large, and it would take a long time to sample it effectively.
Also, for those of you who like to get around on public transit, it’s worth noting that Zab Thai is very close to a Swift station on Evergreen. So your food is delicious and eco-friendly.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Alcohol: Beer and wine.
Vegetarian options: Many.