House of Thai is one of several restaurants in its genre putting out popular Thai dishes. However, compared to those other spots, this one is more of a casual restaurant theme and it’s also more spacious, giving it more of a suburban allure to the niche spots closer into the city. This restaurant sports a lot of the same cuisine in a less expensive setting, but it’s also sacrificing a little bit of the flavor for that price. Thai is a tight market in Dayton, and so that little extra distinction can go a long way.
The restaurant is designed for groups of many sizes, but predominately it seems to attract larger groups to dine in and lots of carry out orders. The staff is pretty nice; there’s definitely a language barrier which has an impact on the service experience, but that’s pretty normal in Midwestern ethnic food stops. I will say that the food comes out quickly, too.
The signature dish, the Pad Thai, is good. It’s simple, inelegant, served with some peanuts and a very light sauce, and can be made as spicy as you like. A little too much so for me, actually, because it’s a very simple and straightforward dish, almost like the kind you get at the store, with no local character to it, no secret ingredient. Little things make it unpleasant, too, such as the too-large onions that instantly dominate the palette, or the spicy range that invariably is hotter than you might have been expecting. But it’s safe, and it’s food that you probably won’t find to be bad or offensive for one reason or another. So there’s that. Sort of a suburban appeal.
In all, the restaurant has a fan base, that much is certain. I’ve had a lot of the same food around this town — it’s something of a trend in Dayton that every town seems to have a different Thai place now — but while I can say the food was good, there’s nothing overwhelming or unique about it that makes me want to rush back. To each their own, it seems.
- If you’re in a rush, there is a “box lunch express” which serves up food quickly with one entrée and several appetizers. The exact dish changes every day, check the restaurant website.
- As Thai places go, this might be a good one to try Thai food for the first time. Dayton has several other Thai places, all of which are either more expensive or less spacious, so if those things are an issue, this is a safe alternative.
- Also, consider the Pad Thai a good starter on the dish.