We got an email from reader Montserrat about a Thai place at Division and 84th named Thai Fresh. Here’s what they had to say about the restaurant:
hey, just wanted to give you a heads up on a Thai restaurant called Thai fresh. it is located on 84th and division on the north side of the street. i had dinner there last night and the food was great. the best part is that if you tell them you can’t have gluten they will modify the use of their spices (including using wheat free soy sauce) and if you are eating family style they will also leave gluten out of the rest of the dishes! they are super nice, very accommodating and the food was delicious.
We love it when people email us about restaurants and, coincidentally, we love Thai food! Portland has great Thai food in general, and it’s good to hear about new places. So it was natural that we would have to give it a try. We’ve been there twice now and think it’s pretty good.
Both times we’ve gone, the restaurant has been pretty full, but both times we were able to sit down immediately. Both times the wait staff were extremely helpful and discussed food allergies and gluten very thoroughly. You can order almost the entire menu gluten-free. That’s really awesome. The friendly wait staff also made me relax almost instantly. Sometimes I go to restaurants and I feel like I’m taking a risk trusting the staff, but not here.
Here’s a rundown of the dishes we sampled: Spring Rolls, Pad Thai, Tom Kha (Coconut Soup), Yellow Curry, and Lemongrass Chicken.
The Spring Rolls are the deep fried kind with ground pork (or vegetarian), carrots, onions, mushrooms, and clear noodles. They are served with the standard Thai sweet & sour sauce. These are really amazing.
The Pad Thai is good. It’s a little different from some of the Pad Thai around town in that it doesn’t seem quite as sweet and maybe has tomato sauce in it? The flavor is good, the noodles were done perfectly, and the sauce has a little bit of an afterburn, which makes it interesting.
Tom Kha is one of our favorite dishes. There’s nothing quite like coconut soup. We felt like theirs was certainly acceptable, but thought it was missing something. Like maybe some hot pepper oil.
We also had some Yellow Curry. This is the standard dish that comes with potatoes, carrots, onions, and your meat of choice. We had it with chicken. To us, the curry seemed a little watery. Also, there was a little bit of an anise taste to it that Sienna wasn’t really into. When we asked the waitress about how it tasted a bit like anise, she figured that it was the basil we were tasting. Some people like anise, and others don’t. I wasn’t bothered by the anise flavor, but I kept wishing that the sauce was a little thicker. Maybe they don’t use a thickener with the gluten-free version?
We both really loved the Lemongrass Chicken. This is chicken breast, marinated with lemongrass, with vegetables over rice. It comes with peanut sauce. We’re both real suckers for peanut sauce. The chicken and vegetables were perfectly prepared, and everything was really amazing.
Both our visits left us with a positive impression of the restaurant. It’s small, clean, and has a nice energy. Our food came out in a reasonable amount of time, and the staff was friendly and attentive. We didn’t feel like it’s the best Thai food in town, but then there’s a lot of rather stiff competition in Portland, and we were generally pleased with our selections. If you’re gluten-free, it’s great to go somewhere that you don’t have to feel like you’re taking a huge risk. Did I mention that you can substitute brown rice for $2? That’s really cool too.
Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 2 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.
8409 SE Division St. / 503.774.2186
We want to know: Do you have a favorite gluten-free friendly Thai restaurant in town? Do you have a great gluten-free Yellow Curry recipe? Let us know in the comments!