Earlier this year, when I saw that a “contemporary farm-to-table Thai cuisine” restaurant was opening up nearby, I was hopeful but cautious. You see, in NYC, you can’t throw a rock down a street without hitting the door of some amazing Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese/Malaysian/Japanese/etc. joint. However, much to my shock and horror, in my short time here in Denver I had been burned several times by truly terrible Asian food. However, I’m pleased to report that Aloy Modern Thai is not one of those places and has quickly become one of my neighborhood favorites due to their inventive, sophisticated take on Thai cuisine.
Picking up an order of their chicken Pad See Eew ($15), Drunken Noodles ($15) (featuring perfectly charred wide noodles for wonderfully rich flavor), and Eggplant wok fry ($16) (which has a deliciously tangy and slightly spicy sauce) is a nearly weekly event. However, nothing beats the in-dining experience so I finally motivated myself to get off the couch and get my and Stanton’s behinds into Aloy Modern Thai’s dining room.
AMT features an airy, contemporary feel to its dining space with blonde wood tables and the cleanest exposed brick wall I’ve ever seen. The large wall of nearly floor-to-ceiling windows provides the perfect lighting in the restaurant as the sun begins to set (heaven for a food blogger’s photos).
The restaurant runs an awesome Happy Hour, daily from 3-6pm. Stanton took advantage of our early bird eating by ordering one of the cocktails off the HH menu, a Mai Tai ($7 special) with a lovely edible flower.
When ordering a few items off the small plates off the regular menu, we exercised our flexitarian rights and went for a number of items that called us over to the dark side: the Belly Buns ($6), Duck Roll ($9), and one that didn’t: a veggie Tom Yum soup ($5).
For the entrees, there were a lot of great pollo-pescetarian options to choose from, but we whittled it down to a couple of items that were new to us and selected the Panang Curry ($13) and Pineapple Fried Rice ($22).
AMT’s team has a long-standing track record of running a sister version of the restaurant, Aloy Thai, in Boulder, CO for nearly a decade. So it’s no surprise that they really know what they are doing at their new Denver outpost. Whereas Aloy Thai focuses on more “homestyle” cooking, AMT goes in a slightly different direction with modern interpretations of classics, or dishes inspired by Thai cooking.
The pork Belly Buns had a good flavor profile, with a very tasty hoisin sauce. Stanton really liked the Duck Roll, with a pastry-like wrapper, giving it a very interesting and delicate taste. It was much better than a fried wonton wrapper that often accompanies Asian cuisine rolls. The Tom Yum soup was a hands-down winner — it’s currently Stanton’s favorite Tom Yum soup ever with a strong lemongrass flavor that completely bowled his taste buds over.
When our entrees came out, I gasped — by ordering out from AMT we had been missing some of the most beautiful food platings I’d seen in a while! An amazing carved carrot in the shape of a hand holding a rose accompanied Stanton’s Panang Curry dish. Our server told us the Thai chefs create these spectacular mini food sculptures every day – and they switch up the designs. So creative (and it must’ve been a huge carrot)!
My Pineapple Fried Rice had an equally impressive presentation – the heaping serving of fried rice was served in a carved out pineapple bowl. Oh, and the taste was just as spectacular – with a hint of curry flavoring and a varied seafood mix (mussels, shrimp, squid), I equate this dish with being a sort of Thai paella (and I LOVE paella). There was so. much. food!
If I thought I loved Aloy Modern Thai before, my in-dining experience only made me love them more. I have been thoroughly impressed by nearly all of the dishes we’ve tried here so far and I believe their commitment to using top-notch ingredients has a lot to do with the exceptional taste and flavors. Everything that comes out of their kitchen always tastes so fresh, and many dishes have memorable flavor notes and combinations that demonstrate the skill, care, and love that goes into their recipes.
Cost-conscious customers may initially be concerned with some of the dinner prices for standard noodle dishes such as the Pad See Eew and Drunken Noodles, which typically hover around three or four dollars more than what competing Thai restaurant charge for similar entrees. However, Roger, the General Manager at Aloy Modern Thai explains that pricing of the dishes “are based primarily on the locally sourced, non-GMO ingredients we use along with the expense of having our kitchen staff here from Thailand for the authenticity we insist on,” which means you’re paying for more natural ingredients grown by Colorado farmers, as well as fairer wages for the kitchen staff.
If you’re like me — a foodie concerned about the food supply chain, the environment, and the local economy — you’ll be fine with paying a few bucks more per dish in order to support these commendable efforts to sustainability and authenticity. That said, pricing changes have already hit the AMT menu since my visit, with a reduction for most noodle and rice dishes on the menu going to effect as of the week of October 9, now set at $10/$14 for lunch/dinner respectively, in an effort to service diners who are looking for restaurants that pair “non-GMO quality ingredients along with affordability,” says Roger.
Go ahead Aloy Modern Thai, take my money, as long as you keep churning out your heavenly food!
Aloy Modern Thai – 2134 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80205
- Decor: Clean contemporary look
- Crowd: Young couples
- Recommended: Tom Yum Soup, Pad See Eew, Pineapple Fried Rice