By Tess Malijenovsky
Breaking from the day for lunch at Papaya, the new Thai/sushi bar restaurant off Boundary Street, was quite the treat. Its sleek yet exotic interior was mirrored by the presentation of each dish, garnished with a fuchsia orchid on a clean white plate.
It was difficult enough choosing just one item from the reduced-priced lunch menu (sushi or Pad Thai? Pho or curry?), but guests have also the option of ordering from the full menu.
Elizabeth tried the Tom Kah soup with shrimp, a lime-flavored coconut milk soup with sweet shrimp, Siamese ginger, straw mushrooms and lemon grass ($4.95), and crispy shrimp sushi ($5). She remembered the soup being so delicious her first time at Papaya that she made no hesitation to re-order soup her second go-around.
Buck asked for the Sweet Basil Chicken ($8.95) and Gene for the Mussaman Thai Curry ($7.95), both of which looked amazing.
Our newest Lunch Bunch member, Louise, ordered the Tom Yum soup, the hot and sour soup with mushrooms, lemon grass and lime leaf, with great satisfaction.
Neither she nor I could resist ordering the crunch roll ($5) a tempura style roll of sushi with salmon, eel, cream cheese, asparagus and masago topped with eel sauce—phenomenal.
Attracted by the long list of $1 nigiri and curious to try a fish I’ve never seen on a menu before, I decided to give tako (or flying fish) a shot; but, according to our lovely waitress, the tako had flown away. By her recommendation I ordered instead hamachi, or yellow tail, nigiri and the Ahi Tuna Salad ($9.95). I was thoroughly impressed by Papaya’s high-grade cuts of raw and seared fish, fresh like a dessert.
And speaking of desserts, make sure you save the room because they were the best part! Fried banana with either mango, coconut or green tea ice cream; and Elizabeth’s favorite—sweet sticky rice with fresh mango and strawberries.
Compliments to Chef TC of Savannah whose ten years of restaurant experience in Naples, Fla., Savannah, Ga., Atlanta, Ga., and now Beaufort wowed us all.
For a wonderful atmosphere and authentic cuisine, be sure to visit Papaya Thai and Sushi. 1001 Boundary St., Suite D, Beaufort, SC, 29902. 843-379-9099. Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 4:30-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. open until 10 p.m.; and Sun. 12-3 p.m., 4:30-9:30 p.m.