For a while there were two Chai Thais: the original, which opened on Curry Ford Road a couple of years ago, and a newer one in a new building that opened about a year after the first one on South Orange Avenue across from the SoDo shopping complex (which most people just call the Super Target).
Now just the second Chai Thai remains, but the original location is still serving Thai, now under the name Smile Thai. Can’t say I’m a big fan of the name, but the food is every bit as good as what the folks from Chai were serving, which was pretty good.
I stopped in for a quick lunch visit and ordered the beef massaman curry, which during the daytime hours includes a spring roll and salad. There wasn’t anything overly special about the spring roll, but the salad was crispy and refreshing, served with the signature ginger dressing so familiar in Thai restaurants.
The massaman had deep layers of seasoning, with just the right amount of fire in the spicing. The beef was plentiful, and the sauce, which also had big hunks of potatoes and carrots, was great when spooned over the jasmine rice. (I love rice with potatoes -- Atkins Diet be damned.)
The folks at Smile were as friendly as the folks at Chai, so that’s a nice thing too. The restaurant, which has seen numerous cuisines over the decades, including Spanish and Chinese, isn’t the prettiest place to dine, but it’s tidy. A comfortable place to eat, good food and friendly people always make me smile. Oh, now I get it.
Smile Thai is at 3334 Curry Ford Road, Orlando. It’s open for lunch Monday through Saturday and dinner daily. The restaurant does not have a Web site. Lunch specials are $6.95; dinner entrees range from $11.95 to $18.95. Go for lunch. The phone number is 407-898-1181.