By Sophia Ricco
Feel transported to Thailand when dining at Ra-Cha Thai Cuisine, an authentic eatery that has mastered the bold flavors of the eastern country.
Ra-Cha comes to Huntington Village with a refreshed taste and spirit, after being taken over by Pattarachai Subworaphon, known as Louis, and his family. Previously opened as Tum Thai Cuisine, the restaurant was passed to Louis from the former owner in December. Louis changed the name to Ra-cha, which means “king” in Thai, because he sees Thai food as “the king of all cuisines.”
“I think Thai food is the best food in the world,” Louis said. “Thai has everything, the texture, the flavor, everything in one dish. We have sweet and spicy, that just has the best smell.”
The restaurant rejuvenation comes with a menu revamp that adds flavorful new dishes to the lineup. Over 15 new plates came from Louis’ aunt and chef, Phannee Prungsak, known as Marki. She learned the recipes and secrets of Thai cooking from her mother and brings more than 20 years of experience cooking across the country.
Mee-Krob ($12) is a tempting appetizer that mixes shrimp, tofu, crispy shallots, and bean sprouts with crispy rice noodle, topped with a sweet and sour sauce. The crispy noodle gives a perfect crunch while the sauce brings a dynamic flavor.
Many believe Thai food is packed with spiciness but at Ra-Cha it’s all about balancing flavors. Louis hopes that those who experience his culture’s food, will fall in love with it.
“When we bring over plate, I want to make the customer to say, ‘Wow’,” Louis said. “I always say to my chefs, ‘When you make everything, you should think that you are eating it and when you taste it, you want to feel good and happy inside.’”
Thai Iced Tea ($4) and Lychee Juice ($3) are unique and refreshing beverages that will start that happy feeling. The iced tea is creamy and sweet, while the juice captures the light, floral taste of lychee in a bittersweet fashion.
Marki emphasizes an authentic taste of Thailand in her dishes. A plate meant to be shared, Ra-Cha Combo B ($16.95), is an assortment of enough pot stickers, shrimp sa bai thong, chicken wings and chicken satay to give everyone at the table a taste.
Step outside your comfort zone by giving the Tamarind Honey Duck ($24.94) a try. Crispy duck doused in a tamarind honey sauce that makes licking your plate seem sensible is accompanied by crispy noodle and broccoli. Marki incorporates fresh tamarind in her glaze to maximize its tango of sweet and sour.
“I know that when I eat, I want it to be fresh,” Louis said. “Every day I buy ingredients because people come here and want to eat good quality food.”
Fresh fish entrées feature the Chilean Sea Bass ($29) and Salmon with Green Curry ($21). The grilled sea bass mixes sweet, spicy and sour together with bok choy and sweet chili sauce. The curry underneath the salmon is exceptional and rich with the flavors of basil, coconut milk and Marki’s secret ingredient.
With exuberant plates and Ra-Cha’s elegant atmosphere of chandeliers and gold accents, diners can feel royal and relaxed.
“We want everyone to feel like they’re at home and just eating with their family,” Louis said.
Their expansive menu offers numerous dishes to explore, like Pad Thai with Mixed Seafood ($20.95), a stir-fried rice noodles with egg, shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, peanuts and scallions.
“This is the best of Thailand,” Louis said. “Our people love this and we want our customers to love it as well.”