The Rittenhouse area has got a new BYO that everyone should know about. JJ Thai opened in February 2016 and they’re creating otherworldly dishes combining French and Thai cuisine. The former location of Bangkok 9 Thai at 2028 Chestnut Street, this restaurant is so much more than what past customers were used to.
JJ Thai is quite easily now in my top 5 BYO’s in Center City. From the service, to the atmosphere, to the food- you’re going to want to try this place. The cuisine executed exquisitely by Chef Jub Jang (JJ) and Manager Adam Lee who worked together previously at Origin Thai in New Jersey. They also take reservations and credit cards which is a plus when it comes to a BYO.
The menu offers lunch and dinner with a variety of traditional Thai dishes like Red and Green Curry, as well as Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, and Drunken Noodles. They’re serving French favorites like Steak Au Poivre, Beef Bourguignon and Duck Ravioli. Their specialties include Australian Rack of Lamb: Roasted lamb, purple potato, carrot, brussel sprout and basil demi glace and Chilean Sea Bass: Pan seared sea bass, spinach, oyster mushroom and soy tamarind sauce.
To start we had the Green Curry steamed mussels with white wine, lemongrass, chili and basil. They had the perfect amount of heat from the curry and fragrant with fresh basil. For a more French inspired dish we sampled the Duck Ravioli with mushroom in a duck and veal demi glace, truffle oil, and red wine reduction. Next time we want to try the The Money Pouch: crispy pastry filled with minced pork and shrimp and Lettuce Wraps with spicy minced chicken, crushed rice, mint and butter lettuce.
Every dish we ordered was plated beautifully and had so much flavor without being loaded with salt, heavy sauces, or oil. For the spring and summer this menu is very light and refreshing. They offer lots grilled dishes like the Mixed Seafood Platter we tried with grilled shrimp, mussels, scallops, salmon, vegetables, and sticky rice. For the traditionalists, Pad Thai here is a must. If you’re looking for an exciting salad I was eyeing the Crispy Duck Salad.
If you stop by for dinner I would highly recommend the Australian Rack of Lamb and Chilean Sea Bass- these specialty dishes were perfection and very reasonably priced around $30. The Au Gratin Potatoes with the Rack of Lamb are probably better than I’ve had from any French restaurant in my life.
Save room for dessert! They’ve got a sweet Thai Iced Tea that is perfect to cool down with for the upcoming warmer months. For a Thai style dessert you have to try the Mango and Sticky Rice. The coconut cream in the rice is absolutely delicious with the sweet ripe mango slices. To balance Thai with French we also had the Creme Brulee and it was the exact balance of cream and vanilla to end our night on a sweet note.
JJ Thai is definitely here to stay in redefining upscale BYO cuisine and we love the originality of their French Thai fusion. JJ Thai also offers catering which is a great solution to some of the boring fare we’re used to being served in large group settings. Head over to 2028 Chestnut Street soon, you don’t know what you’re missing!