Brews News

Map of Thailand

Cleveland

(www.mapofthailand.com)
Lisa Sanchez
On my recent tour of Cleveland restaurants, I ventured to the city's Asiantown district to try out a new restaurant and new cuisine for my somewhat uncultured pallet: hai food. Map of Thailand, located at 3710 Payne Avenue is a delicious, if not slightly deserted, little restaurant that features a variety of different kinds of curries and salads along with numerous vegetarian options.

I went with my boyfriend, Derek, at 7 on Saturday, which I would think would be a peak dining hour. However, when we walked in there were only two other people there. Shortly after we arrived, the other guests left and we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. There was only one gentleman running the front of the house serving as both host and waiter. Despite the sparse staff, the service was expedient and very polite.
Map of Thailand is the nicest establishment on the block. Although not terribly ornate, it has a simple, clean interior complete with goblet water glasses and fancy folded napkins.

The food was very good; unlike anything I had ever had. For an appetizer, we ordered Golden Bags, which is fried tofu filled with chicken and vegetables. They had a similar consistency to hush puppies but far more delicious. Plus, they were actually wrapped and tied like tiny bags. I'm always won over when food is presented to me like an accessory. The bags came with a sweet, chili dipping sauce that was so good I was tempted to drink it straight out of the serving bowl.

For entrees, we ordered mango curry with chicken, shrimp, red peppers, and mushrooms as well as Panang curry with duck. Admittedly, I've never had duck before. But after trying a bit in the Panang curry, I found it had a similar consistency to turkey. It was tender and savory, coupled with the Panang sauce that added an excellent spice and flavor. My mango curry had subtle undertones that didn't overwhelm the fresh taste of the veggies or the meat. As a surprise, there were chunks of mango in with my dish, which added a different medley of flavors I hadn't tried before.

Initially, I thought the servings were a bit small. But, as I continued to eat, I realized the bowl was deceptively deep. The servings were so plentiful, at one point Derek asked incredulously, "Does this bowl keep magically filling itself?" The entrees also come with a healthy serving of sticky white rice which compliments any flavor of curry offered by Map of Thailand. Considering I wasn't able to finish my portion without declaring a state of emergency for my stomach, it was a damn good meal.

Map of Thailand is not terribly expensive either, dinner entrees run from about $9.95 - $15.95 with plentiful portions. They also have lunch specials for cheaper, which at that point just seems like the owners want to give you delicious food out of the kindness of their hearts. Map of Thailand was a great find, and I would definitely love to go back again and again until I have successfully stuffed myself with every type of curry imaginable. If anyone needs me, I'll just be over here eating Tamarind Duck until the species is extinct.

8/10
Map of Thailand
3710 Payne Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 361-2220
Sun-Thurs: 11:00am to 9:00pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00am to 9:30pm