Name: Sabaidee Thai Restaurant
Location: 36 Jenison Ave., Johnson City, NY 13790
Phone: (607) 766-0557
Price: Most entrees less than $10
Sabaidee is the second Thai restaurant in the Binghamton area that I've visited, after Thai Basil in Endicott. It used to be located off Hooper Road in Endwell but they've recently moved to Johnson City, on Jenison Ave. behind the M&T Bank and around the corner from Mekong Vietnamese. There used to be a Chinese restaurant at this location a number of years ago and it was perhaps the sketchiest, seediest place I'd ever entered. Frankly, it was kind of disgusting. Hence, I was a little bit hesitant to enter Sabaidee, but was pleasantly surprised by what the folks did with the place. They make good Thai food at insanely low prices--most entrees are around the $7 mark--and the location offers them a nice low-key (dare I say) elegance. They've got a nice little dining room setup with some stools also available for seating by the counter where you pay. It isn't lavish by any stretch, but it's colorful and mildly charming.
I stopped in for take-out around 1:30 PM on a Wednesday. There wasn't anyone else around, otherwise I probably would've decided to eat there. I don't really dig being the only patron in the entire place, you know? So I opted for take-out. I was greeted as I entered the door and after a quick glance over the menu I opted for the Masaman curry with pork, a lunch special for only $5.95.
Less than 10 minutes later(!) I was back in my car with some wonderfully aromatic Thai food in tow. I headed back to my office where I opened the bag and found a container each of Basmati rice and the curry I ordered.
For those unfamiliar, Masaman curry is originally a Muslim dish consisting of meat, potatoes, onions, peanuts, pineapple, and coconut milk with various spices. I've had this dish a couple times before and liked it: this was the best version of it I've had yet. Keep in mind I am not at all an expert in Thai cuisine, but I was very satisfied with this, and for only $6, I found it to be a lot of food and a major steal. I certainly wasn't hungry for the entire rest of the day. One minor complaint is that I felt the potatoes were a little bit harder than I would've liked, but this dish had really nice flavor. I think there was something like cinnamon in there to give it that extra flair. Whatever it was, I was very satisfied and am eager to try Sabaidee again for take-out, given how close it is to home for me in JC.
Of the two Thai restaurants I've visited so far, Thai Basil definitely offers the better ambiance and the richer experience. However, the food at both places is about equal in my mind, and there's no doubt that the service at Sabaidee is much more efficient and the prices are significantly lower. For a sit-down Thai meal, my vote goes to Thai Basil, but for take-out, I think Sabaidee represents better value.