When I was recently in the Seattle area, I went to dinner with my buddy Tyler and his brother Kyle. We’d just finished watching an inane Michael Bay movie, and I had to get up the following morning before 5 A.M. to be ready for the car service to the airport, so I was thinking of packing it in and heading back to my hotel when someone suggested dinner. I was pretty hungry, and it was only 9:30, so I figured what the hell.

Downtown Bellevue is a land of highly expensive bistros and the like. I’d made the mistake of plopping into one on my first night in town (frankly, I was sick of walking around and saw an italian restaurant), and walked away 20 dollars lighter in the pocket. And mind you, I’d only had a glass of water and one of the cheapest entrées. So, as we walked down the street my final evening in town, I was on the look-out for something that said “chain” or “fast” but most certainly “cheap.” Then Kyle–who, like his brother, had gone to high school in the area–suggested a Thai restaurant. By the sound of the name, I feared for my wallet…

Chantanee. Say it with me: Shahn-Tah-nay. Before I could utter a squeak for the sake of my pocketbook, Tyler got an excited look in his eyes and said “would they still be open this late?” A few flicks and taps on the JesusPhone later, he’d confirmed that they’d be closing soon, but we had plenty of time to walk there and eat.

My mind was aflutter with fears of high price and how many antacids I’d need to pop after the meal, but I followed along. My head calmed down a little later when I discovered the restaurant was not in a ground floor expanse in one of the new high-rises, but instead in a normal single-story building. Not to say the place was anything but nice inside (it was really pretty well put together, minus the glitter that somehow managed to become permanently adhered to my hand while I was there… I have no idea where it came from but I’m positive it appeared while at dinner), but another 20 dollar meal would have killed me.

Oh my what a pleasant surprise… Chantanee was a complete dream. Great service, amazing food and oh yeah… I think I spent 9 dollars on my meal, which almost felt like a steal. I ordered the Phad Se Ew, and wisely went with a 0-star spiciness level. Kyle ordered the same but with a 3-star and I could see him sweating during the meal. Tyler’s seafood basket was creatively presented, arriving at the table in a puffed up al-foil container that was expertly sliced and diced into a foil basket by the server.

I wolfed down every last bit of the phad, and to be honest, my mouth is watering as I write this. I have to say it was bar-none the best Thai food I’ve eaten since leaving Australia. If you’re in the area (Bellevue, east side of the Seattle metro area, for those of you who don’t know), I can’t recommend it enough. But, to channel Lavar Burton, don’t take my word for it:

“Chantanee Family Thai Restaurant, via”: