One of my favorite shows on Food Network is "Good Eats," especially the silly opening skits in which host Alton Brown gets himself out of a sticky situation by promising to come up with some "good eats," though he never quite gets around to saying those words before the opening credits roll.
I thought of that while eating at West Jordan's Thai Delight, a gem of a restaurant that, despite its fairly basic decor, is about the most cheerful and easygoing place to eat Thai food that I've ever visited.
And the food? Well, in true "Good Eats" style, it's a … "Thai Delight."
There are better-decorated Thai places in the Salt Lake Valley, dimly lit places with flickering candles and loads of Far East atmosphere.
But Thai Delight's small strip-mall dining space is as brightly lit as a day care, and on the night my husband and I visited for dinner a big family group made the place about as raucous as one.
This is a place you can take your kids with no fear that they'll disturb the ambience. Instead, they'll become part of it, as you're greeted cheerfully, seated and asked with true sincerity how you're doing tonight.
No matter how that is, you'll be better once the platters of food start arriving. We ordered an embarrassing amount for two people, but it heated up just fine later, and we got to taste lots of goodies.
First on that list for me was the papaya salad, a sort of coleslaw with cool, juicy shrimp, finely julienned green papaya, garlic and tomatoes tossed with lime juice and crushed chiles to each diner's heat level.
It's exotic but not weird, and so delicious I'm already plotting a trip back for more.
Our host told us papaya salad and chicken is his version of soul food, and I believe it.
Speaking of which, I've rarely had a more fun and enjoyable person as a server than the member of this family-owned business who helped us.
He had intelligent recommendations, lots of wisecracks and boundless enthusiasm both for his restaurant and the state of Utah — what's not to like?
We did have some more conventional dishes, including the wonderful combo fried rice with beef, chicken, pork, egg and veggies; and the beef with stir-fry vegetables, which was surprisingly light and fresh.
And for starters, we had richly flavored vegetable gyoza (potstickers) and juicy chicken satay as gold-red as any Indian tandoori.
I had my favorite curry, the massaman, a stew-like melange of chicken, potatoes and onions in a coconut-curry sauce.
At Thai Delight, the flavors were beautifully balanced between spicy and sweet and got more complex with each bite.1 comment on this story
The place also offers Thai-style tea, coffee and lemonade, plus coconut juice and several classic Thai desserts. We came too late to try them this time, but as I said, we'll be back.
Appetizers $6.25-$7.25, soup and salad $6.95-$9.95, rice $7.95-$9.45, entrees $8.45-$9.45, desserts $4.50.
If you go
Where: 6271 S. 3655 West, West Jordan
Hours: Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Sunday
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Easy
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org