You might not be able to tell from its plain-looking building, but Thai 9 Thai and Sushi Restaurant is often mentioned as one of the best Asian cuisine places in Dayton. The Thai food place is situated on the edge of downtown and the Oregon District — where many of the city’s more cultured establishments are situated. Spend any decent amount of time around this city, and you’re certain to run into one local or another who swears Thai 9 has the best food they’ve ever eaten.
So, the main course dishes are a very classy group of stir fry dishes and a lot of seafood. Basil and curry spices are liberally applied, and most of the dishes go on a spiciness scale of one to 10. If you like spicy, it’s delicious, but I should warn you: a seven dish is a nice warm spiciness, but an eight is where it starts to get uncomfortable. The vegetables are perfect; they’re cooked and doused in a delicious sauce until they complement just about anything perfectly. They’re still crispy without being raw, and there’s just enough of them in a serving to go with the side of white rice that comes with the meal.
The different meat courses are excellent, each in their own way. The duck basil dish, clearly one of the most popular of Thai 9′s courses, is delicious. Lightly fried and crispy duck breast served with stir fried vegetables in a savory sauce. The soft-shell crab is also delicious; the crab is fried, but it’s served in huge chunks. Not my favorite way to eat it, especially when frying the crab crisps them up, and texturally it’s like eating a whole crab with its hard shell and all. I wish they’d cut it into smaller pieces at least. The other seafood, though, is very good. The crab Rangoon is masterfully done, not too much cream cheese but plenty of flavor. In all, the dishes are executed masterfully.
The atmosphere of Thai 9 is very pleasant, it’s got a large outdoor patio for warm-weather dining, and it’s got a spacious interior for groups of all sizes. The food takes a little bit longer than average to arrive, but you’ll find yourself in a pleasant atmosphere while you eat.
It was a long time from when I came to Dayton to when I first gave Thai 9 a try. I wasn’t sure if it could live up to all the hype — but it’s a restaurant with both delicious food and a very casual atmosphere. No question: this will be a restaurant you’ll remember.
- There’s parking in the next-door parking lot, but space is at a premium in downtown Dayton, so you’ll want to avoid peak hours.
- The Duck Basil dish is my absolute favorite thing here, and I know others who feel the same. Definitely a must-try.
- There’s also a small bar to buy a drink while you wait, for adult parties.