Sitting at the bar with my older sister at Boda and enjoying creative cocktails with Thai tapas, as rain outside mists the streets of Portland, Maine, is an excellent way to begin any evening. Especially when those cocktails involve Thai Basil and ginger, and the cuisine entails oysters, quail eggs, fiddleheads, pork belly, and quail.
I ordered the Thai Basil Tom Collins, which was light with citrus flavors and dancing with just bit of spiciness and anise flavor from the Thai Basil. Sonya sipped on a ginger cocktail, the exact ingredients unknown to me, alas. In any case, I can vouch for the tastiness of the drink. Both of these cocktails made lovely pairings for the Thai food we’d soon be devouring.
First up were oysters served raw with chili-lime dressing and fried shallots. Each oyster not only delivered the quintessential Atlantic Ocean brininess, but also surprised the taste buds with spicy chili and citrusy lime. The fried shallots were a little over the top but still pretty good. If the flavor of the oysters is overpowered by the shallots then you can always take some off, but the crispiness added an interesting texture when juxtaposed with the raw, slippery oysters. The delightful sea flavor of the raw oysters doesn’t really come through until after the initial flavors of the garnishes wanes. It’s an interesting experience with waves of flavor and texture, but in my opinion plain raw oysters are still the way to go if you want to really be at one with the oyster.
We ate the oysters alongside a dish called Kanom-Krok that consisted of quail eggs seasoned with soy sauce and scallions. A little poking around on the Internet reveals that Kanom-Krok is typically a dessert dish of little, round coconut-rice puddings. They look quite appealing, actually, but I have to imagine that Boda is using the term to refer to the cooking process where the individual eggs are cooked in the shallow, round indents of a cast-iron pan. These hot little quail eggs had a very nice saltiness due to the soy sauce, and the rich flavor really exploded when the egg yolk breaks in the mouth.
We ordered one of the special appetizers—a fiddlehead salad with rice noodles and shrimp. This distinctive salad had an enjoyable spicy element to it, and the seasonal fiddleheads were beautiful to look at in all their spiraled glory and were cooked perfectly.
We also couldn’t resist the pork belly skewers marinated with salt and sprinkled with chopped scallion. Need I elaborate? No, I think not. I’ll just throw some adjectives at you: Unctuous. Delectable. Savory. Awesome.
For our final dish we shared some quail served with a spicy sauce. There’s something about crunching down on a little bird that is so satisfying. I thoroughly enjoy gnawing the crispy skin and flavorful flesh of quail while snapping teeny, tiny birdie bones. It might sound primitive, but to me it is joy. Bliss. Unfortunately this picture in no way does justice to this dish.
Anyplace that serves tapas or small plates is perfect for sampling lots of dishes, and Boda is no exception. Whether you’re out with a bunch of friends or just catching up with one of your favorite people, Boda is a great restaurant to try out a variety of superb and satisfying Thai cuisine.