Ae’s Thai and BBQ – 1358 State Route 36 – Hazlet
Let’s talk Thai. Specifically, let’s make it about Ae’s Thai and BBQ located in the Airport Plaza Shopping Center in Hazlet. I know there are people out there that are intimidated by Thai food. My friend and dining partner used to be one of them. Now, she gets Thai at least once a week. I’m not saying that is going to happen to you, but at least give it a try! If you are worried about spice, Ae’s will adjust the amount used in the rice and noodle dishes to suit your taste. The curry dishes have the specific spice level noted in the descriptions, and you can order accordingly. Life is short, try the Thai!
We dined on a Thursday evening, and we were seated immediately. The décor is amazing, and during friendly conversation with the host, we were told that the beautiful umbrellas that adorn the space have been brought in from Thailand. There is pleasant and relaxing music softly playing. It’s perfect if you are looking to enjoy good food and be able to talk without overbearing background sounds. There are a variety of booths and tables of all sizes. There is an interesting fish tank when you walk in, adding to the overall peaceful vibe.
We were greeted by our server, who provided us with our beverages. I couldn’t resist the Thai Iced tea, which is a favorite of mine, and this one did not disappoint. Creamy with sweet spices, in a nice large glass. We ordered the Chicken Satay as an appetizer. They came out quickly, hot, with a delicious peanut dipping sauce and cucumber salad. What’s so scary about a nicely seasoned chicken on a stick? Nothing, and it tastes great.
For my entrée I ordered pork Pad Kee Mao, and my friend ordered the chicken Pad See Ew. All the noodle and rice entrée’s come served either veggie, chicken, pork, tofu, beef or shrimp. While waiting for dinner you can’t help but notice the amount of orders going out, either for delivery or for customer pick up. This adds to my feeling of confidence that the food will be good.
The host stopped by the table, to both welcome us and to check how we were enjoying the appetizers. After refilling our water glasses, he went back to the front. He’s friendly and chats with everyone, including the customers getting take out.
Dinner came out in a reasonable amount of time, and hot. The Pad Kee Mao, also known as “Drunken Noodles” are a spicy fat noodle dish with peppers and spicy thai basil. I like spice, so I order it made as is, but it can be ordered less spicy. The one thing that continually stands out at this restaurant is the freshness of the ingredients. The vegetables are colorful and crispy, and the meats are plentiful within the mix. My friend’s Pad See Ew looked amazing as well, and she confirmed that it was. It had chicken, flat noodles, egg and veggies in a sweet soy sauce. We both cleaned our plates. Does that mean the portions are small? Ummmm, no. We just couldn’t stop ourselves.
Did we leave room for dessert? Barely. But I’m gonna do it. I’m a trooper. They have fried bananas with ice cream, fried ice cream and ice cream. Are you seeing a theme here? The ice cream is homemade locally in Keyport at Mr. Green Tea ice cream and they have more than just chocolate and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. They also have coconut, (my fav) mango, red bean, green tea and ginger. Not your typical flavors, but this isn’t your typical restaurant. It’s much better.
Finally, we are stuffed. Make that beyond stuffed. Maybe I should have passed on the ice cream. But, I hardly ever pass up the ice cream. Tonight I tried the red bean, which is red, with a sweet but not truly vanilla flavor. Different but a good different. I’ll get it again, that’s certain.
Now, maybe you’re willing to give the Thai a try, but your friend, significant other, or kids are not. Guess what?! They also serve Barbeque! The menu shows ribs, wings, chicken, pulled pork, mac and cheese, along with fries, bacon garlic mashed potatoes or veggies. I haven’t tried the barbeque yet, because I love Thai food. However, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be giving that side of the menu a try shortly.
Ae’s Thai and BBQ. That’s Thai AND BBQ. Not Thai BBQ. A unique combination. Open since October 2018, but doing it right. Fresh ingredients, great food, pleasant atmosphere, good service. Family owned and operated. Give it a try, at least once. You will go back. I did. Again and again and again.