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.
- Crab Rangoon: masterfully done, not too much cream cheese but plenty of flavor. A nice fish sauce like side comes with this one.
- Duck basil: 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.
- Green Curry (Gang Keo Wan): Green curry in coconut milk with veggies and meat. This curry is a bit more savory. I like it hot. Try if you love heat, and get a 6 or a 7.
- Massaman curry: This Thai curry is relatively mild, evoking the spicier Middle Eastern curries. Served with carrots, onions, potatoes and peanuts. Best with chicken or a lighter meat.
- Pad Thai: The distinctive pad Thai dish is easily the most popular thing here and the first you should try. Thin noodles stir-fried in a peanut sauce with veggies. One of the best takes on this dish.
- Pad Kee Mao (Drunken noodles): A Chinese combo, these noodles are heavier and have a distinct spiciness. Highly recommended if you like heat.
- Pad See Ew: Similar noodle dish to the pad Thai but a bit lighter. Those thick noodles soak up a nice dark sauce a bit this is a dish you’ll be able to enjoy in one sitting.
- Panaeng Curry: This curry is a bit sweeter and better in a very simple mixture of mint leaves and green beans. This curry is best with low heat.
- Red Curry (Gang Dang): This red curry in coconut milk with veggies and meat. The red curry is sweeter, and I would suggest this one with a moderate hear, like a 4 or a 5.
- Singapore Noodles: Stir-fried rice vermicelli with curry, bean sprouts and bok choi. This one is heavy on the curry flavor and I would suggest you get it lower on the spice. That taste is a lot on its own.
- Soft-shell crab: 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 textually 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.
- Sushi and sashimi: There’s a good variety of sushi at Thai 9, with lunch combos giving you the chance to try a few. Oregon Combo is a great one, three cuts of fish on a nigiri-style roll, six pieces of sashimi and a basic California roll. Very filling.
- Yakisoba: This is a Japanese variety of fried buckwheat noodles. Here, it’s served with calimari and mussels and is great when spicy.
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.