It was a mouth party at Jownai Fouquet. Everyone was there; crunchy, velvety, sweet, spicy, fresh and all the rest. WMSE Station Manager Tom Crawford and I were there too and boy, did we have fun.
As of last year’s Food Slam, Jownai Fouquet was not yet open in the space that was formerly Abu’s, but the curry they offered at the event had us pretty excited about the prospect. A year later they have made the space their own, a whole lot of gorgeous packed into that little building. Done in pastels and lovely wood inlay, the modern room is calming yet lively. The BBC’s Planet Earth is projected on a wall.
Our meal started with Thai ginger soup or as Tom calls it, “cream of awesome soup.” Big chunks of vegetable and chicken and many of sticks of fresh ginger float in a coconut broth that is so rich and velvety Tom calls it “sexy.” It is. It really is.
The server brought Tom a tall glass that looked like it was filled with the sunset pattern that graced household furnishings in the ‘70s. When I asked him what it was, Tom informed me it was “angel tears” and offered me a taste. How did I not know about Thai ice tea?! What joy! The creamy sweetness would certainly come in handy as the meal heated up.
The spring rolls were extremely fresh and included shrimp and chicken. The coconut shrimp were the most perfect example of fried food I’d ever had. The breading was super crunchy and delicate and not one bit greasy. There were big, happy sighs all around.
Could it get any better? Yes, indeed. For the main course we had fat noodles with shrimp and red curry with chicken. The noodles were that fun sort of squishy/gummy that they should be without crossing the line into goopy/pasty and the sauce offered up the salty/sweet/spicy trifecta of good Thai food in perfect balance. (Warning, I’m about to gush…) The red curry was flat out amazing. Once again the vegetables were really fresh and the chicken was done really well. And, it was hot. Owner and cook Aom explained Jownai’s heat scale, which basically runs 1 to 3. The red curry is a 1. Tom and I both like our food quite spicy, ordering on the upper level of heat scale in most restaurants, and this did the trick and got us sweating toward the end. Aom said what passes for “medium” in other restaurants is half of their 1. At Jownai, 2 is “native” and 3, well, I don’t even want to think about it. One seemed perfect to us. Enough kick to get the endorphins up but not too much that you couldn’t taste how great the rest of the flavors in the dish were.
Having eaten all we could possibly fit into our bellies, Tom summed it up, “The food here is really top shelf. This is my new favorite Thai place. I’m not kidding.” The man does not kid about something like that.
Tom’s musical pairing: “Cataclysmic” and “Seaward Say” by Perfect Angel. He says, “They are an Indonesian post rock shoe gazer outfit. Like a warm south seas breeze. Their sounds would offset and subjugate all that was on my plate. All fragrances and spicy heat. The band sounds nothing like the traditional music of their country of origin. Some bands use their country’s musical traditions and westernize them to make pop songs. This band does not do that overtly like so many bands would do. Yet there’s a just and sincere tone to the compositions that’s so subconsciously far east. Ethereal Post Rock Shoe Gazer Red Curry Coconuts!”
Yours, eating like it’s 1999
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