Thai Fusion combines Asian flavors to create savory cuisine
Despite popularity, restaurant misses the mark with favored dish
As one of the few Asian restaurants to have achieved success in the Central Valley, critic Stephan Melendez was initially drawn to Thai Fusion Bar and Grill because of the spectacular reviews he heard in favor of the establishment. Though an oyster appetizer and the grill's Kaeng Phet Gai appealed to Melendez, the failure to produce quality panfried noodles kept him from fully appreciating it.
After reading numerous rave reviews about Thai Fusion Bar and Grill, I decided to give the restaurant a visit and see if the eatery was up to par.
In my opinion, Thai Fusion Bar and Grill is one of few Asian restaurants to have achieved success here in the Central Valley. Although not everyone is accustomed to spicy and exotic dishes, Thai Fusion seems to leave a good impression on many customers.
Thai Fusion Bar and Grill is well-established with a modern Asian feel, combining traditional Thai and Laotian dishes together to create a new breed of cuisine. Unlike many other restaurants, Thai Fusion cooks Asian favorites like chow mein, teriyaki and orange chicken to give an alternative for those who do not enjoy Thai food.
In addition to this, Thai Fusion has won several local People's Choice Awards. Thai Fusion is also connected to B&K Asian Kitchen -- the original Thai restaurant -- and Thai Fusion Noodle House & Lounge, which is currently under renovation.
Walking into the small yet spacious eatery with hardly any tables set up, I found my eyes gazing at a huge portrait that was painted on the wall. While observing the restaurant, I couldn't help but notice how busy the employees were with the hustle and bustle of the building. Yet, with that, I also noticed how no one was ignored at the door for a substantial amount of time.
As my eyes ran over the menu, I was in complete confusion on what to order as my main dish; the menu was covered with salads, noodles, soups, seafood plates and other traditional entrees. After a while I decided on an oyster appetizer, which bought me more time to make a decision for my main dish.
Finally, after asking the waitress for her recommendation -- she noted the panfried noodle's popularity -- I followed her advice. My father ordered the beef Kaeng Phet Gai, while my friend Chris decided on teriyaki chicken.
"Despite my displeasure, Thai Fusion Bar and Grill was quite an experience. Who knew the art of Thai and Laotian cuisine could be so desirable and tasty?" --Stephan Melendez, '13
My oysters were served with a traditional exotic, spicy ginger lemongrass sauce. When I slurped up the oyster, it was reminiscent of a fine dining experience in San Francisco, CA. Due to my inclination to have extreme amounts of flavor on everything I eat, I drowned my oyster in Tabasco chili and lemon, making the experience worthwhile. The ice-cold and freshly-caught oyster was indeed one of the two highlights of my night.
Our plates finally arrived and the air was filled with the smell of soy sauce mixed with chili, vegetables and coconut. Sadly, the waitress informed me that the panfried noodles I ordered could not be made -- apparently the restaurant does not have the right equipment to fry the noodles in. She went on to explain that the dish I asked for instead consisted of soft noodles.
Immediately I was confused and indignant. How is it that I ordered a plate from the panfried noodle section and it cannot be made? I asked myself, "then why advertise a panfried noodle section"?
Although I was filled with dissatisfaction, I decided to eat the entree and not put the chef through the hassle of creating me a new plate. The dish was presented as a chowmein entree instead of panfried noodle plate.
Chowmein is mostly considered a side and not a main dish, so anyone could receive something like this at their local Chinese fastfood distributor. I did not care for the sauteed vegetables and beef that were entangled in the dish. After about six or seven bites, I switched plates with my father and ate his Kaeng Phet Gai.
Though not popular with Melendez, Thai Fusion Bar and Grill certainly achieves success in the Fresno/Clovis area with high-quality products and service in addition to a family-oriented atmosphere. The restaurant is located at 785 W. Herndon Ave. and can be reached at 559.299.6799.
The Kaeng Phet Gai was the second highlight of that evening. I was quickly caught off-guard with the spiciness of the soup-like food. The red curry was sauteed in a creamy coconut milk with green beans and bamboo shoots, not to mention the jalapenos with a sweet basin and bell peppers that made all the difference and tempted me even after I finished the bowl.
It has been a while since is have been dissatisfied with a restaurant. I could be totally wrong, but it may have just been my plate that tainted the experience. I was very displeased with the fact that my favorite dish, which I waited a long time for, could not be made. When I order something at the restaurant, I expect to have what I asked for, not an excuse about how the restaurant does not have the proper cooking equipment to make the food. I do not know if I will be returning for a substantial amount of time.
Despite my displeasure, Thai Fusion Bar and Grill was quite an experience. Who knew the art of Thai and Laotian cuisine could be so desirable and tasty? As for the service, I was pleased to see my table was well attended to, for the most part.
For those that want an exciting experience with new exotic food, Thai Fusion is the place to dine at. The dishes are pricey, so be careful what you order, because the bill could add up fast -- ours was $50.71.
Thai Fusion uses fresh, high-quality products that makes it unique and delectable. The success of the restaurant begins with high-quality products and service, and continues with a family-oriented atmosphere. This may not be my favorite eatery to dine at, but I will say that Thai Fusion Bar and Grill serves one heck of a Kaeng Phet Gai.
Thai Fusion Bar and Grill is located on 785 W. Herndon Ave., Clovis, CA 93612. For more information, visit their website or call them at 559.299.6799.
For more food reviews, read the Feb. 23 article, Sandwiches, assorted fare astonish at Sam's.