By Dr. Phill Morgan
To step through the doors of Sushi-Thai Too is to enter the warmth and beauty of Asia and to be able to enjoy two very different but superb cuisines: Thai and Japanese. Everyone is guaranteed a smiling “Sawadee” (welcome) from the largely Thai staff who have exceptional experience and knowledge of their offerings. All work as part of a well-organized team seeking to maintain a unique family atmosphere integrating the four restaurants in Bonita Springs and Naples. The artwork, sculptured tables and Asian music all add to the unique Thai atmosphere.
The owners, Sathit (Todd) and Torong Boonyavairoj, are delightful, smart, experienced restaurant owners fully dedicated to providing customers with outstanding food, ambience and service. The couple first met at university in Bangkok studying hospitality. Todd moved to the U.S. to continue his studies at the prestigious Cornell University and then Fort Lauderdale while Torong went to work for Thai Airlines. I learned, unexpectedly, Todd’s first restaurant was a Jewish bagel breakfast joint in Hollandale Beach, Miami. As they sought to expand that business, they experimented with Thai and sushi and learned that offering the two cuisines broadened their customer base; younger Americans skewed towards Japanese and older ones Thai. When Todd and Torong married and moved to the Gulf Coast in 2003, they decided to use the clever name “Sushi-Thai Too” — opening first in Naples and later expanding to Bonita Springs. They live in Estero.
As with most Asians, they are passionate believers in high quality and freshness. They fly in top-notch fish and produce from Japan, Thailand, California, etc., while also supporting local Florida growers.
The menu is extensive. Thai specialties start with Satay or delicious Tom Kha soup. Main course specialties include various seafood and meats sautéed or deep fried with a broad set of sauce options. All are prettily presented, often decorated with orchids. Curries with brown/white rice from the different provinces of Thailand make great alternatives (Massaman, Panang, etc.). Thai curries are quite different to their Indian counterparts through the use of coconut milk, lemongrass and special leaves. Spice level is easily varied to individual taste.
The Japanese menu is also extensive with simply outstanding, freshly prepared sushi and sashimi. Stir-fried dishes, Tempura, Teriyaki, Soba and Udon noodles, are all tasty options covering cold and hot preferences.
The evening my wife and I visited (we go frequently – also with our retriever on their lovely outside patio), we started with Beef Satay accompanied by peanut and sweet and sour sauces. Then we sampled fantastic Hamachi (Yellowtail) Jalapeño and a mixed Sashimi plate. For mains, we tasted enticing Maguro Lover’s Roll, Deep-fried Snapper with Volcano Sauce and Panang Curry. All were absolutely superb!
As we discussed travel within Thailand with the owners, it turned out that, incredibly, we had an identical “secret” favorite destination on the southern Andaman Sea. For me, as a photographer, it offers the most beautiful beaches and sea anywhere in the whole world; for them, it is a divers’ paradise.
I confidently believe Sushi-Thai Too will delight you — be it for that special dinner or for lunch.
Prado at Spring Creek, 25101 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs
Opt for chicken or beef skewers, marinated and grilled with coconut milk and yellow curry, served with peanut or sweet & sour plum sauces. Enjoy it with Singha Thai beer!
Hamachi is Japanese yellowtail or amberjack. This is served finely sliced with very finely sliced jalapeños — all on ice. The heat-fish combination is very unique.
This tasty dish includes tuna, salmon and white tuna served on a beautifully decorated plate.
DEEP FRIED SNAPPER WITH VOLCANO SAUCE
This Thai specialty features a whole, deep-fried Snapper. We chose to try it with the Volcano Sauce — slightly spicy and sweet — all served on a bed of vegetables.
MAGURO LOVER’S ROLL
A tasty sushi roll with spicy tuna, tempura flakes, avocado and cucumber, topped with seared tuna and eel sauce.
A flavorful dish prepared with green beans, ground peanuts, bell peppers, Panang curry paste, Thai herbs and coconut milk.