a Full Moon Feast at Daughter Thai Kitchen in Montclair

by foodhoe on August 22, 2017

6118 Medau Pl, Oakland, CA 94611 | 510-823-2354 | website

I heard about a new restaurant called Daughter Thai that opened recently in Montclair, a lovely town nestled in the Oakland Hills near the intersection of Highways 24 and 13.  It is the latest project from chef Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang, who has two other restaurants in San Francisco, Kitchen StoryFarmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine and another Farmhouse Thai that just opened up in Portland.  The inspiration for this latest restaurant comes from business partner, Kimberly Gamble whose mother owns Lanna Thai in Livermore, hence the name Daughter Thai Kitchen.  Her family has roots in the southern part of Thailand, and she wanted to introduce some of their favorite recipes prepared as they are back home in a beautiful Farmhouse setting.

Interior of the restaurant, photo: Daughter Thai

To get an idea of the festive spirit of this group you have to watch one of their goofy videos!  Mr. K and I met up with my frequent dining partners Ben of Focus:Snap:Eat, (read his review here) Christina from East Bay Dish, and Brenda and Patrick of Bites & Bourbon  for a very fun meal that happened to fall on the night of their Full Moon Party, which included a fun beach theme dinner, games, and a special grilled seafood platter.  The servers all dressed up in resortwear with neon face paint, and all the guests got lei’d.

The flamingo man came around with a platter of fried grasshoppers ($6) that we couldn’t resist trying.  They were gruesome to look at, but crunchy and well seasoned and utterly delicious!  If the insides had squished at all, I would have been grossed out, but it was all crunchy and if I had been blindfolded, I wouldn’t have guessed I was eating fried bugs…

Brenda’s spicy Michelada that came with a copious amount of delicious belly on skewers and I loved that the umbrella looked like it had turned inside out.

Our party of six ordered a lot and all of the plates arrived at once, which made it seem a bit chaotic!  I loved that they use the same brightly colored plates we saw all over Thailand when we went years ago.

I always want to order Mieng Kum Kung ($12) when I see it on the menu.  Their version came with 3 green leaves with a scoop of a zesty mixture of lime, ginger, onion, roasted coconut and peanuts mixed with Tamarind sauce topped with a crispy crusted fried tiger prawn.  It was boldly flavored, hot sour salty and sweet with crunchy, sticky textures and the crispy fried shrimp was meaty and sweet.

The Chicken Wings ($10) were flavorful and crispy with buttermilk battered panko coated shells lacquered with a tangy chili plum sauce that had us smacking our lips and licking our fingers.

We loved the Sai Oua Northern Thai Sausage ($8) a dense and meaty pork sausage flecked with aromatic kefir lime leaf, intensely flavored with herbs, spices and curry paste.

The Daughter Thai Tacos ($11) were flaky roti tacos filled with crunchy battered and fried chicken in sweet and tangy sauce, cilantro, onion and cucumber pickles.  They were delicious but were really just orange chicken tacos (yawn) and there was just too many other spicy and delectable diversions.

Another dish that I can’t resist when I see it on the menu is the crispy rice salad called Nam Khao Tod ($12) with Thai fermented Pork Sausage, crispy red curry rice, ginger, chili, and peanuts with fresh Thai herbs.  It is an exciting mix of flavors: savory, sour, spice and crunchy textures that come together when rolled up in a leaf with aromatic herbs and fresh vegetables for a deliciously tasty rollup.

Crab Fried Rice ($21) was an interesting platter filled with twice cooked rice mixed with a cage free egg, onion, tomato, cilantro topped with a mountain of Dungeness crab meat, julienned carrot and thinly sliced cucumber along with a chili jam and shrimp paste sauce served on a lotus leave with a bowl of bone broth.  We sipped at the broth and mixed everything up to create a luxurious and fragrant dish.

The Phi Phi Platter ($33) was packed with huge grilled river prawns, PEI mussels, octopus, sea escargots, and clams served with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs and seafood sauce so you could wrap them up.

Ben must have ordered the one vegetable dish, Pad Asian Broccoli ($14), crunchy and tossed in a spicy XO sauce with garlic.

We felt compelled to order the Southern Fish Curry “Gang Tai Pla” ($22) even though we were warned it was SPICY.  It was one of the few southern specialty dishes on the menu and I thought I would be able to at least handle a couple of bites to sample this highly talked about dish.  It is made with fermented fish (including the funky entrails), stewed in turmeric, lemongrass & exotic herbs along with squash, Thai eggplant, and green beans and contains no coconut milk to help cool things down.  It is served with crispy pork belly, vermicelli noodle & herbs on the side.  Whoooo!  I managed one bite and as my mouth filled with an intensely gamey heat, based on the fireworks crackling around my mouth and the klaxon bell woop-whoop warnings from my beleaguered tastebuds, I stopped right there and waited.  The ensuing fireball that flared out and smacked me in the head made me glad that I was cautious because my head wept copious tears from everywhere but my eyes as I emptied the water bottle and crammed vermicelli and fried pork belly into my mouth.  So, for those who can only handle 2-3 out of 10 on the heat scale should probably just pass on this fiendishly hot dish.

Thank the gods for Yellow Curry ($14), a flavorful comforting bowl with big chunks of potato, onion and crispy shallot.  Spicy but not in the least hot and if I had room I would have asked for some roti to dunk in.

We were so full that we just ordered Thai Vacation to share, warmed coconut sticky rice under coconut sorbet served in a half coconut shell which I felt would help sooth my traumatized heat sensors, but the owner had noticed all of the instagramming going on at our table and brought over their special Luk Sao Platter ($26) on the house!  We thank you so much Daughter!  The platter included the Thai Vacation, along with Daughter croissant bread pudding with caramel sauce, and a moist chocolate cake topped with billowy whipped cream, and a bunch of beautifully cut fresh fruit, just like in Thailand.

As we were walking out we were beckoned over to the Daughter Night Market stall where we attempted to throw rings onto bottles for the chance to win beer, but everyone was rewarded with candy!

It was a very fun and delicious meal, and I’m interested in going back to try the other less spicy southern shrimp dish and the 24-hour beef noodle soup, among other things.  I’m glad to have this warm and cheery crew serving deliciously spicy dishes so close to home.  On the way out, you pass through the outside patio which is very reminiscent of the night markets in Thailand, minus the heat and the humidity, in fact they probably could use heat lamps…






{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ben @Focus:Snap:Eat August 23, 2017 at 10:39 pm

Hey, those greens were my favorite dish! LOL.


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