A look at recent reviews of Thong, Nana's Byrek and Neon Chicken
15 Railroad Ave., Westerly
If you like heat, try the Crazy Noodles at Thong Thai restaurant, and you won’t be disappointed. But if you’d prefer not to have your mouth go numb, there’s plenty more to choose from at this little eatery opposite the train station in downtown Westerly.
It was the Pad Thai that first sucked us in, and the Giant Crispy Rolls and Drunken Noodles that lured us back again. The menu is extensive, the waitstaff super friendly, and the heat in your food entirely your decision. You can ask for more peppercorns and chili peppers in your selection, or opt for something with less fire. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely not be disappointed.
One faithful customer who tracked me down after my May 2 review unabashedly told me in an email, “As one who truly appreciates good Thai food, (and who has worked in Thailand) I have compared (Thong) to the other local Thai restaurants and it is by far the best. Small and beautiful ... and tasty.”
And there are all kinds of options to choose from — from starters like the Coconut Shrimp, to soups like the Tum Yum (Thai hot and sour with lemongrass, lime leaf, mushroom, and tomato topped with cilantro), to salads like the Asparagus Shrimp, or wok dishes like the Sesame Noodles or Pineapple Fried Rice, to entrees like Garlic Salmon and Curry Duck. It’s all freshly made and served with a smile.
Wherever you hail from, consider a trip to Westerly.
— Ann Baldelli
316 Boston Post Road, Waterford
You don't encounter eateries offering byrek too often, and if it's built into the eatery's name, then it's a sign in more ways than one.
For the unfamiliar, byrek is a savory pastry made with phyllo-style dough, and stuffed with your choice of cheese, meat, spinach at Nana's ($4 a slice; $18 for a whole pie). We sampled the cheese-filled option and thoroughly enjoyed the salty-sweet flavor of the cheese and the buttery crust.
The byrek is the most exotic item on a menu otherwise made up of pizza, pasta (sourced from Rebekah's in East Lyme), salad, and grinder options, plus a few panini choices; note: the prosciutto and fresh mozzarella panini ($9) is a standout.
The basic cheese pizza features a crusty thin crust and very good tomato sauce, but peruse the full slate of pies on offer to really see what Nana's can accomplish in the pizza oven — from the Taco Pizza ($18; one size only), which is exactly what it sounds like, to the Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza ($17), which replicates the comfort food staple down to the ketchup on top.
So, yes, Nana's is another pizza place in a region well stocked, but its creative approach and welcoming customer service set it apart from many of its peers.
The Neon Chicken
88 Howard St., New London
As much as I enjoy the roast chicken at this New London comfort food Nirvana, I knew I was going to write a review on the food there that's NOT chicken. Because there's a lot of it, and it's really good.
For example, you can get a platter ($13.99-$14.99) featuring such delicacies as pot roast, roast turkey, pulled pork, meat loaf or pork loin, served with your pick of two sides and a hunk of moist cornbread. Each of these entrees is prepared with the sort of love and attention to detail you'd find in June Cleaver's kitchen. Great, tasty and filling stuff.
And speaking of the sides: There's a dozen rotating options each day, most of which are suitable for vegetarian consumption. Green beans, red cabbage, cooked carrots, butternut squash, red potatoes, corn ... it goes on! Only the collard greens and baked beans have bits of meat in them, and no matter what you choose, you get bountiful, delicious helpings. Sides are available for $2.99 each or a three-choice plate for $9.24 with cornbread.
An insider's tip: Feel free to ask for a pot roast sandwich ($7.99), which isn't on the menu but will be happily manufactured for you. It's magical.
Oh, and that titular chicken? Hell, yes, it's good!
— Rick Koster