Walworth's new Thai restaurant a tasty surprise
WALWORTH—I love being surprised by something wonderful and totally unexpected.
Behind this wonderful thing, you usually find someone with a passion who doesn't let a little thing such as being in a small town get in the way of creating something world class.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon something wonderful just outside Walworth, where I met Al of Al's Auto Body and Hosta Arboretum. I'll never forget meandering past the worn garages and car bodies, turning the corner and finding a verdant wonderland with drifts of giant, exotic hostas tucked under towering trees. And there was Al, a modest guy who fixes cars and knows more about plants than most horticulturalists.
I stumbled onto another surprise in downtown Walworth on Sunday night.
Two Sisters Thai Restaurant is actually run by two sets of sisters and a mother. It has been open about six months. Our waitress was one of the sisters, who had just moved here to help out her mom. It was a bit of a culture shock for her; she'd moved to Walworth from the Hamptons on Long Island.
Quirky? Absolutely. But there is nothing quirky about the food. The décor is sparse, but what comes out of that kitchen is pure heaven for Thai food fans.
If you miss Nee's Taste of Thai (the Janesville restaurant that closed), Two Sisters will blow you away.
I was the only Thai neophyte among our group of six. Other than a couple of curries, pad Thai and chicken satay, I have very little experience with the cuisine. Fortunately, my companions were more than able to pick up the slack.
We started by ordering a bunch of appetizers, including Thai egg rolls and spring rolls (two for $3.95). We added an order of fish cakes ($5), Thai crispy stir-fried noodles ($6.95), and chicken and shrimp dim sum ($6.95).
The egg rolls were nothing special, but the others were nothing short of delicious.
The spring rolls, with a hint of fresh mint, truly tasted like the season we're all so eager to see again. The Thai freaks at the table agreed that they were among the best spring rolls they had ever tasted.
The fish cakes were beautifully seasoned, crispy and served with a nicely balanced cucumber and sweet and sour sauce.
The plump little dim sum dumplings were perfectly steamed and served with yet another exceptional sauce.
Lisa and I quickly became addicted to the crispy stir-fried noodles. They were crunchy, light and mildly spicy—sort of like skinny Thai Cheetos without the scary orange powder. In case you're wondering, that's a recommendation.
We shared entrees around the table. The seafood fried rice ($12.95) was mild but packed with tender shrimp, squid and crabmeat. Mitch ordered the chicken Pad Kee Mao ($8.95) at medium spicy, and Louis ordered the shrimp version ($9.95) spicy. One was supposed to be spicier than the other, but they seemed to have the same level of heat.
No one cared. The thick rice noodles were silky, the chicken and shrimp beautifully cooked, and the vegetables vibrantly crisp. The sauce was rich and nuanced with the spice adding a nice touch of heat at the back of a bite. Next time, that is what I'm ordering, and I'm not sharing.
Lisa ordered another noodle dish, the chicken Pad See Ewe ($8.95), which featured broccoli, egg and a smooth, smoky sauce that was milder than the Pad Kee Mao. All the noodle dishes were exceptional.
Cindy's order of chicken Pad Cashew Nut ($8.95) was another home run. The chicken was sautéed with cashews, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots and scallions and served over white rice. There was enough spice to let you know you were eating Thai, but not so much that it overwhelmed the fresh and delicate flavors.
My husband, Richard, graciously shared the shrimp Mussaman Curry ($9.95), a generous helping of sautéed shrimp served in a curry paste with coconut milk, potatoes, onions and peanuts. The sweetness of the coconut milk, crunch of the peanuts and heat of the curry was an amazing combination of flavors and textures.
Given that everything else was great, we couldn't pass up dessert. The sweet sticky rice with mango ($6.95) was fantastic. The Thai custard ($5.95) was a creamy rice pudding that everyone happily finished.
How or why this exceptional little Thai restaurant popped up in Walworth is one of those delightful “Northern Exposure” moments. Two Sisters could be in the middle of a trendy Chicago neighborhood and draw a devoted fan base.
Lucky for us, it's only a half-hour away.
Last updated: 6:56 am Thursday, February 20, 2014