Believe it or not, it is really Ed (from Yuma) with another post about Yuma. I'm happy to be posting again after getting overwhelmed with work and family/health issues etc. Jeez, sometimes it's nice to have my main worry being what to eat!! It's also nice to be writing about a real Thai restaurant in Yuma AZ. How cool is that?
I was meeting Greg for lunch. "Where d’ya wanna go?" I asked.
"How about the new Thai restaurant in Foothills?"
"Huh? Where? What?” That was how I learned about Red Rose, which has morphed from a food cart parked in a lot by Fortuna Road last winter into a real brick and mortar restaurant in Pioneer Plaza. Of course, I was game for some Thai food – but skeptical, all things considered.
The restaurant occupies the space that once housed Kodiak Seafood:
The interior of the small place is tastefully furnished, but it is small with only 2 large tables and 5 or 6 smaller ones:
In the last week, I (with Greg, and with Tina) have been able to sample a variety of the dishes on the Thai part of the menu, which includes over 50 items. Tina and I started one meal with deep-fried spring rolls ($7):
These were served fresh from the fryer too hot to handle. Although no lettuce leaves were provided to help one pick them up, the accompanying ketchup based sauce was a nice balance between sweet and savory. While just a little greasy to the touch, each crunchy wrapper contained a nice selection of thinly sliced vegetables and clear noodles:
The papaya salad ($9) provided an excellent contrast:
The perfectly fresh, shredded papaya came with shredded carrot, tomato slices, Thai chilies, and a generous topping of peanuts. All of us loved the flavors, the very fresh crunchy papaya shards balanced by sweetness, spiciness, and touches of lime and savory. While I missed mashed long beans, everything else I would expect in a papaya salad was there. This is also probably a good time to mention that Red Rose will prepare dishes very spicy, if you request it. I suspect they would be happy to serve something "Thai spicy" on request though I have not been feeling that courageous recently.
The larb (available only with chicken) ($9) was also a hit with everyone. This dish showed off the tender sweetness of the chicken balanced by a deep funkiness in the sauce. While there was not much dried rice powder, this was a very satisfying item:
The yum woonsen ($9) cellophane noodles were another good and satisfying item for a hot day in Yuma:
Available with either ground chicken or ground pork, we liked the cool clear noodles highlighted with citrus flavors and spice. The sliced red onion and diced green onion provided contrast.
The Tom Yum seafood soup ($14) was generally excellent. I liked the range of seafood, 3 or 4 good sized shrimp, tender chunks of squid, sea scallops, and mussels (no fake krab anywhere). All were complemented by the savory funky spicy seafood broth, with tomato, chopped green onion, and various slices, chunks and leaves of Thai spices:
I've also had the chance to try two different curries. The yellow curry (ordered with tofu as the protein choice) ($9) was the less impressive. The mild sweet curry sauce didn't seem quite flavorful enough to make up for the numerous bland potato chunks and the cubes of fried tofu. Perhaps if we had ordered it very spicy or chosen a different protein, the results would have been better:
On the other hand, a daily special, the green curry with avocado (with chicken as the protein choice) ($14) was a hit with all of us. The green curry sauce was nicely balanced with sweet, tangy, and hot spicy notes. We also liked the mix of vegetables – the asparagus was a good addition to the peas, carrots, and sweet peppers, – and the abundant avocado chunks were smooth and buttery:
Similarly, the spicy scallop stirfry ($14) was quite good. The scallops were very fresh and not overcooked. The whole dish contained deep savory flavors. In addition, we liked the green beans and the fresh garden peas still in the pod. In fact, the presence of actual fresh peas in this dish and in the green avocado curry was a nice touch at a time when so many restaurants fall back on the convenience of frozen peas:
We also had to try a noodle dish, and I know that Kirk often has pad see ew when he goes to a new Thai restaurant, so that seemed like a good choice for us as well ($9):
Again we were impressed. The shredded fresh veggies added crunch and the cooked vegetables were al dente, another good texture addition. The sweet soy flavor of the dish was appealing, but the noodles weren't drenched in sauce. We were also happy to see some wok hey, evidence of a properly hot wok .
The restaurant has several beverage choices, including Thai iced tea:
Even better, they have an Arizona BYOB license so that customers may bring their own wine or beer.
Overall, I think Red Rose does very well. While not the best Thai food I have ever eaten, it is certainly the best Thai food that I have eaten in Yuma. Better than a lot of Thai food I've eaten in California. I'm impressed by the range of the menu, the consistent freshness of ingredients, the balancing of flavors, and the willingness to prepare dishes spicy. I also should mention that perogies (Ukrainian style) and a hot dog (keep the kiddies happy) are on the last page of the menu. But for right now, I'm sticking with the Thai food. My only worry is that this tiny restaurant will be so overcrowded by December that I won't be able to get a table anymore.
Red Rose – Sang Chan – A Touch of Thai – Thai Ukrainian American, 11274 S. Fortuna Road, Pioneer Shopping Center, 928-342-7777. Open Tuesday - Sunday from 11 am to 8:30 pm.