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Fearless Critic restaurant review
New Haven

Mon–Fri 11:00am–3:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards None

Audubon Arts District
Church St. between Grove St. and Wall St.
New Haven, CT
No phone
Jasmine Thai Cart
A friendly, reliable cart that does the Thai-American classics on the cheap

Many people consider this weekdays-only Thai cart to be the best of its kind, though it’s in area far from most of the others. It’s more easily accessible from the downtown financial and government area, as well as from the southwestern end of the East Rock area, and it delivers on its promise of cheap, competently prepared Thai-American standards.

The menu rotates, but you can always choose two, three, or four items in combination. Perhaps in deference to the Atkins crowd, rice is an option, not a baseline. Our favorite things here are the tender “Thai BBQ chicken,” which is curried and grilled right in front of your eyes— it’s improved by hot sauce—and the good Panang curry, with chicken and green beans that still have some snap to them. Pad Thai has sweet noodles and an under-dose of egg and peanut; it’s never the right choice (here or anywhere else). Pineapple fried rice is less sweet, and absorbs the flavors of the other dishes that you select, adding more flavor.

All of this is spooned into your Styrofoam box in prodigious portions. After a couple of dishes, the box is bursting with food; a $5 three-item combo (never mind the four-item version for less than a dollar more) easily feeds two. We find it hard to fathom, in fact, that any one person could complete the task of eating it all.

The service is polite, too, so it’s not hard to see—given the value proposition and slightly monopolistic location—why this place has a loyal lunchtime following during the week.

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