The other day, I stopped in to Jeera Thai.
That’s the tiny but wonderful restaurant tucked next to Finalmente, across from Design Within Reach, just down from Westport Pizzeria and the great new Field Trip jerky shop.
In a town filled with very good restaurants — and new ones coming (and going) all the time — Jeera Thai is at the top of any list.
This is the real deal. The menu is authentic — not watered down for American palates. Chicken, lamb, noodles, soups, stir-fry, curry — it’s all there, flavorful, zesty and real.
Herbs and spices are “correct” — imported from Thailand. Other ingredients come from New York, where there is a robust Thai dining scene.
I had a salmon, red curry and coconut dish that was truly out of this world. Or at least, halfway around it.
Here’s the interesting thing: As I chatted with owner Jeeranunn Atiportunyapong — you can call her “Luna,” and I sure do — several other diners offered totally unsolicited praise.
“I’m very well traveled,” one said. “I study Asian culture. This is as spot-on as it gets. The food is so fresh. It’s real cooking. You can’t fake flavors. There’s a perfect balance between pungent and spicy. It can be ecstatically amazing.”
But she wasn’t finished. She added, “This place is a refuge for me. I come here 3 or 4 days a week.”
Overhearing us talking, another customer chimed in.
“I’ve been to Thailand. This is so authentic. The pad kaprow and drunken noodles with beef — you can’t beat that anywhere. You should write a story about it!”
I don’t usually do that. But those customers — and all of Luna’s many others — are right. It’s a true Westport gem, hidden right in the middle of downtown.
So here’s that story. And (thank you, Google Translate!) here are my thanks to Luna, for Jeera Thai’s wonderful food and beautiful spirit: