Sunday, September 7, 2014

At Wondee's: A little fresh paint, same great food

Ocean of Garlic is a wonderful marriage of tender seafood, minced garlic and a crunchy cabbage salad at Wondee's Fine Thai Food and Noodles in Hackensack ($18).


In the more than three months since our last visit, I've missed the wonderfully exotic Thai food at Wondee's in Hackensack.

On Saturday night, I dove into an Ocean of Garlic and made good use of a cloth napkin to cope with my reaction to the spicy, fresh green-papaya salad and shrimp-and-mushroom soup.

The meat eaters in my family enjoyed Geuw Nam, wonton soup with roast pork and vegetables ($3.50); Thai Fried Rice, and Ka-Na Moo Grob, stir-fried crispy pork belly with Chinese broccoli.

No meal at Wondee's would be complete without two spicy dishes, Som Thum, a fresh, crunchy green-papaya salad ($8), above, and Thome Yum Koong, a shrimp soup with mushrooms ($4), below.

Beautifully fried seafood

Ocean of Garlic contains plump mussels, tender bay scallops, shrimp and squid, all beautifully fried and coated with minced fresh garlic and black pepper.

The grease-less seafood was served on top of red-leaf lettuce leaves and accompanied by a crunchy cabbage salad in a tart dressing. Just perfect.

I wanted to finish the dish, and didn't have any white rice.

Thai Fried Rice includes shrimp, pork, egg and onion ($10.50).

Ka-Na Moo Grob is stir-fried crispy pork belly with Chinese broccoli ($11).

Sweetened coconut juice is served with fresh coconut meat.

Dessert is available.

Some of the walls in the restaurant were brightly painted and the drop ceiling was done over in black. The dining room of rival Bangkok Garden in Hackensack is fancier, but the prices are higher and the food isn't the equal of the dishes turned out by Chef Wandee Suwangbutra.

Wondee's Fine Thai Food and Noodles, 296 Main St., Hackensack; 201-883-1700. BYO, metered street parking until 6 p.m., except Sundays, and rear parking lot off of Camden Street. Closed Mondays.

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