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  • Lemongrass soup from Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • Green Curry Chicken at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • Shrimp Pad Thai at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • Calamari fried rice at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • A whole deep-fried tilapia at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • Thai Chan sushi has opened in the spot that was formerly home to Baan Thai in Coldwater Shoppes

  • Curry puffs at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • A deep-fried Chef's Special Roll at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • The deep-fried tilapia at Thai Chan Sushi was dry and terribly overcooked.

  • Thai Chan sushi has opened in the spot that was formerly home to Baan Thai in Coldwater Shoppes

  • The Old Salem Roll, a California Roll topped with real crab and a duo of sauces, at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.  

  • The Hurrcane Roll topped with wasabi-infused fish roe at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • Shrimp rolls at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

  • Drunken noodles with beef at Thai Chan Sushi in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

Sunday, December 18, 2016 10:10 pm

Options plenty, delicious at new Thai place

Ryan DuVall | Restaurant critic

It opened rather quietly in the spot that was once home to Baan Thai in the Coldwater Shoppes shopping center.

And with a makeshift plastic banner for a sign, I wasn’t sure what I would find when I walked into Thai Chan Sushi.

But what I found was a place that originated in Fishers with a pretty solid reputation there and now has brought its fresh, unique sushi creations and solid Thai fare to the Summit City.

I did a double-take when I walked in because even though the sign is nothing to behold, it was beautifully decorated inside with Thai artwork, colorfully patterned linens under glass on the tables and intricately designed chairs.

The menu presented a lot of choices. Not only was there the two styles of cuisine, but there were also way too many offerings, which is usually a red flag. But my first taste was a great peek into what were more than satisfying experiences.

The Tom Yum Lemongrass Soup can be had with beef, chicken or shrimp, and I chose the latter. The bowl came with three giant shrimp and a plethora of whole button mushrooms swimming in a simply perfect lemongrass-infused broth with tomatoes, onions, scallions and cilantro. It was brilliant.

That soup was one of my choices when I ordered a Thai entrée, too, but that one did not have mushrooms or meat, which sort of defeated the purpose.

Pretty much all of the appetizers I had at Thai Chan were above board with the Curry Puffs being the brightest star. These crispy fried triangles – more commonly known as samosas – were stuffed with curry-seasoned carrots, peas and potatoes and came with a sweet-spicy red sauce that reminded me of spicy ketchup.

The Shrimp in a Blanket were also spot on with the same plump, sweet, perfectly cooked shrimp that were in the soup this time wrapped in rice paper and fried until crisp. The egg rolls were the least impressive and they lacked filling.

The sushi is what impressed most at Thai Chan, and the Old Salem Roll is a must-try.

It was a basic California Roll topped with pieces of real crab – not the imitation stuff that was inside the roll – and two kinds of sauce. The first sauce was a standard orange, mayonnaise-based spicy sauce and the other was a clear sticky-sweet sauce dotted with red peppers. The crab was fabulous and added just enough sweetness so I didn’t use much of the clear sauce.

I also loved the Hurricane Roll, which had salmon, spicy tuna, imitation crab and cucumber with the spicy sauce. The fish roe garnish on top is what really brought this dish home. Instead of the standard bright orange or pink fish eggs, these were dark green and infused with wasabi, which added even more spicy kick.

Deep-fried rolls are also offered and the one I had was best when still hot. The Chef’s Special Roll had salmon, imitation crab, cream cheese and avocado with the spicy sauce and a sweet, dark sauce that is most often used on eel. When it was warm, the cream cheese and avocado oozed from each bite in a magical way. There was a subtle crunch, the flavor combination worked and it was wonderful.

Another deep-fried dish, this one from the Thai side, failed miserably. The "House Special" Pla Rad Prik – whole deep-fried Thai tilapia with red curry and kaffir lime leaves – looked gorgeous with a medley of carrots, onions, red and green peppers, cilantro and the promised lime leaves sitting atop the scored, super crispy fish with a pool of red curry sauce underneath on the plate.

But once I got past that crispy, flavorful exterior, the fish was hammered. It was hard, dry and horribly overcooked. Even the tasty sauce couldn’t save it and I could only eat about three bites before giving up.

My green curry entrée proved much better. I had the Gaend Keow Waan with chicken and received a bowl of green curry much lighter in color than I am used to seeing. But it was not dim on flavor as the curry was present despite competing with coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves. It was a great bowl of curry with tender slices of meat, snappy long beans, bamboo shoots and green peppers.

That green curry, which I asked for at medium heat, was pretty tame. The tilapia, which I asked for at maximum heat also was not as hot as I would expect real Thai hot to be, so don’t be shy about asking for it spicy if you like it that way.

The most impressive Thai dish was the most simple, and wasn’t really all that Thai. The Kao Pad fried rice differed from the Chinese staple a bit.

The white rice was not soaked in soy but was rather seasoned with a heavy dose of black pepper and lightly charred in the wok to brown it a tad and make it a little crispy. I had mine with calamari, which was a brilliant move because the sushi-grade squid rings were tender and succulent with the same kiss of brown char from the wok the rice had. Just carrots, onions and egg joined the rice and squid in this creation, which was garnished with fresh cilantro.

The Pad Thai with shrimp and drunken noodles with beef were on par with most good Thai places in town, but it was the fried rice, green curry and those fabulous sushi rolls that will bring me back.

Restaurant: Thai Chan Sushi

Address: 4634 Coldwater Road

Phone: 209-2147

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday

Cuisine: Thai

Handicapped accessible: Yes

Alcohol: Beer and wine

Credit cards: Yes

Kid-friendly: Yes, with menu

Menu: Curry Puffs ($5.95), Shrimp in Blanket ($6.95), Old Salem Roll ($12.99), fried Chef’s Special Roll ($13.99), Hurricane Roll ($12.99), green curry ($10.95), calamari fried rice ($11.95), tilapia ($12.95)

Rating breakdown: Food: ** (3-star maximum); atmosphere: * (1 max.), service: 1/2 (1 max.)

Ryan DuVall is a restaurant critic for The Journal Gazette. This review is based on two unannounced visits. The Journal Gazette pays for all meals. Email him at rduvall@jg.net; call at 461-8130. DuVall’s past reviews can be found at www.journalgazette.net. You can follow him on Twitter @DiningOutDuVall.