When you open the door to Kai Yang, you are greeted by colorful patterns and vivid decor. The small Thai rotisserie restaurant, located at 345 Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair, New Jersey, instantly manages to create a cozy yet upbeat ambiance.
The floral patterned tables and bright yellow seats are arranged closely together, establishing an intimate dining experience. The Thai restaurant adds touches of flare by using small Mason jars as cups and adorning the walls with unique tapestries.
The restaurant is a 15-minute drive from Montclair State University and offers signature dishes, like handmade chicken dumplings, rotisserie chicken and their flavorful Pad Thai.
Kai Yang opened four months ago but owner and chef Sheree Sarabhaya is no stranger to the food industry. Sarabhaya also owned Spice II, which closed in August for rebranding and expansion to Kai Yang.
Sarabhaya explained her intentions were to give customers a more authentic experience while remaining close to her culture.
“The reason we moved was because we needed to rebrand the name and do something authentic,” Sarabhaya said. “People tell us they’ve never had meals like this before.”
When I first arrived, I ordered a Thai iced tea and Tom Kha soup. The soup contained coconut milk, lemongrass, mushroom, red onions, scallions and chicken.
The scallions added a very rich taste while the onions provided a burst of spice to the creamy consistency. The Thai iced tea was sweet and creamy but still very refreshing.
Next, I moved on to entrees. The menu offers a variety of different meats, side dishes and stir fries. I ordered the half chicken, which is marinated 24 hours prior and rotated evenly for customers to see.
The half chicken was accompanied by a papaya salad, which is comprised of green papaya, string bean, tomato, carrot and peanut with lime dressing.
The entree provided a choice of meat along with the rotisserie chicken and sticky rice. I chose the Nuea Yang, a sliced grilled beef. The chicken was perfectly cooked and moist while the beef was grilled to perfection.
My friend who accompanied me ordered the Pad Thai with shrimp, which consisted of rice noodle, an egg wrap, scallion, bean sprout and crushed peanuts. The addition of crushed peanuts to the Pad Thai added some diversity to the noodles and shrimp.
Sarabhaya was kind enough to offer Kra-Prow, which contains string bean, green pepper, chicken, onion and basil. It comes with jasmine rice, a fried egg and soup. It will be offered as their new special for $11. I ended my dinner with fried mango ice cream which they offer in multiple flavors.
While the entrees are averagely priced, customers definitely get a bang for their buck with beautifully arranged plates and large portions. Despite not delivering to Montclair State, they are willing to offer students a 10 percent discount on all dine-in visits with a valid student ID. This offer can be redeemed during lunch and dinner hours.
If you are looking to try something new, Sarabhaya’s inclusion of family recipes provides you with the opportunity to try authentic Thai comfort food. With affordable prices, alluring decorations and friendly staff, you can’t go wrong in making a visit to Kai Yang.