Make sure you brush your teeth before you go to Jasmine Rice — the small space and tiny tables at this charming new Thai BYO will bring you pretty close to your neighbor, we’re just sayin’.
But all elbow–rubbing aside, Jasmine Rice is a restaurant full of character and flavor. Owners Tom and Ann Jamavan have made the most of their itty–bitty digs by transforming the space into a bright dining room with a wall of windows and all the Buddha imagery you need.
The menu is just the right size and contains the staples of traditional Thai cuisine — spring rolls, coconut soup, pad thai — along with other more inventive dishes, all at reasonable prices. With plenty of vegetable and tofu options, vegetarians are in luck and won’t be going home hungry.
We started the meal off with the chicken satay and pratunam dumpling soup (both $5). In our opinion, a few delicious skewers of chicken satay might make or break the Thai restaurant experience, and Jasmine Rice’s version didn’t disappoint. With a hefty portion of moist, barbecued chicken and a delightful peanut curry sauce in hand, we were happy from the start. The pratunam dumpling soup, on the other hand, left much to be desired: the shrimp dumplings were fine, but the watery broth was nothing special — borderline “meh” at best. The free serving of the crispy spring rolls could’ve perked us up a bit, but they were sadly on the greasy side and too doughy.
Fortunately, Jasmine Rice delivers on its entrees. The pad khimao ($9) was spicy, sweet, fresh and fragrant. The balance between tofu, vegetables and noodles was just right, as was the portion size.
The green curry ($10) was similarly tasty, with a complex sauce that brought out the best in the green peppers, Thai basil and coconut. Make sure to order this dish spicy — the fiery aspect helped to round out flavors that might fall flat otherwise. Stuffed, we couldn’t down a dessert, although the sound of the Bang Rak Sticky Rice with Ripe Mango ($4) was an invitation to come back.
Jasmine Rice is a delicious treat, a restaurant certainly superior to on–campus Thai hot spots. It’s the perfect place to grab a huge meal after a day in and around Rittenhouse or to host your next BYO — if you want to get cozy.
Jasmine Rice 306 S. 16th Street (215) 546–0818 $$$$$ Don’t Miss: Green Curry — go spicy or go home Skip: Dumpling Soup