Kob Jai has reasonable prices, decent food

Bruce Thomas/The Arka Tech

Kob Jai is a Thai restaurant located in downtown Russellville; the red sign is hard to miss. Walking in, I noticed the small dining room isn’t overly decorated, with plain colored walls and about seven oriental inspired paintings. I noticed the four small square paintings of various bamboo forests bore Daniel Freeman’s signature, the owner and artist of the Kaliedoclasm gallery.

I was free to seat myself so I chose the table next to the window that way I could view just how little goes on in Russellville on a Friday afternoon. The waitress was prompt and took drink orders right away. Of course, if you’re going to eat Thai food there is only one beverage to get—Thai tea. Thai tea is a spiced, strongly brewed black tea, which is then put on ice and sweetened milk is added, pretty similar to Indian Chai. She was then ready to take my order, I started off with Seen Savan and finished with Gang Phet.

Dale QUaid/The Arka Tech
Gang Phet, a Thai red curry with potatoes, carrots, bamboo shoots and peas in coconut milk.

Not too long after I ordered, the food arrived. First, the appetizer Seen Savan is a thinly sliced beef, which is dried then fried until crispy and finely coated in a very sticky, but dry enough to handle, sweet sauce.

The main entrée followed too quickly. I had not even had time to enjoy my appetizer by the time my main course was on the table. My main course was Gang Phet, which is served with two egg rolls and a side of rice in a neat little steam basket.

I first tried the appetizer, since I now had my choice of everything at once. The Seen Savan was crispy, sweet and chewy, served with a spicy sauce on the side which complemented the flavors nicely. Next, I tried the egg roll, which was perfect. These are not the large bubbly heavy egg rolls that you’ll find at many Chinese buffets. These egg rolls are smaller more tightly wrapped and several layers of crispy before the delicious beef filing. On the side, there was a sweet peanut sauce that tasted fairly one note, which is peculiar considering the normal massive amount of flavors going on in Thai foods. Lastly, came the Gang Phet, a Thai red curry with potatoes, carrots, bamboo shoots and peas in coconut milk. I like red Thai curry in coconut milk very much, in fact I could probably eat it every day. I was not disappointed; every part of the dish was delicious.

Overall, I was happy with Kob Jai, but I wish they could have waited to fire the main course after I had at least started on my appetizer. The portions for the main course were quite large; I could easily have shared my meal with another person and we could both leave happy. I ended up taking half of everything home to enjoy later. The prices are reasonable, I think the most expensive item was $11, the service is fast and the food is great. I will definitely be back.
Gang Phet: $7.99 Seen Savan: $4.99 Thai Tea: $2.99 Total: $16.21

Food balances peanuts with flavor perfectly

Kob Jai is a Thai restaurant here in Russellville. It is relatively new in that it hasn’t been open more than a few years. The Arka Tech reviewed Kob Jai back when the restaurant first opened in 2015, but I wanted to go back and see if Kob Jai was still as good as the first reviewers promised.

We went to Kob Jai around 1 p.m. on a Friday. It wasn’t packed, but it was relatively busy. The waitress said we could take a seat anywhere, so we sat down in one of the seats right next to the window.

Not too long after that, the waitress asked what we would like to eat. I ordered the Pad Thai lunch with beef and a one-star spice rating. This comes with a side of 2 egg rolls. I also ordered a side of sticky rice, mostly because I love white rice.

After about 5 minutes, give or take, my egg rolls and rice were brought to the table. The rice was delicious. The egg rolls were perfectly fried and had the right amount of crisp. They were delicious, especially with the peanut dipping sauce. Shortly after the rice and eggrolls arrived, the food arrived, and boy, was there a lot of it. The plate probably had about 2 portions worth of pad Thai on it.
Now, I should mention that I like peanuts, but I don’t love peanuts, and a lot of Thai food often comes with peanuts or has a peanut flavor to it. Not so much that it overrides the rest of the flavor, but enough that you can taste it in almost every bite, or at least I can. That being said, I still thoroughly enjoy Thai food that isn’t too peanut-y.

Bruce Thomas/The Arka Tech
The noodles were cooked thoroughly and the sauce was well made.The beef was tender and seasoned perfectly.

Kob Jai’s pad Thai while, peanut-y, was not abundantly peanut-y. It was the perfect ratio, and was delicious. The noodles were cooked thoroughly and the sauce was well made. The beef was tender and seasoned so perfectly that I began to hunt through the pad Thai just to find it.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I was full and had to stop eating. I left with half of my food in a to-go box. The pad Thai lunch was $7.99. The side of white rice was $2.99. At the end of my meal, my total check was $11. 97. I would consider this a total steal considering I left with half my food in a to-go container.

I would definitely recommend Kob Jai.

Kob Jai is open Tuesday – Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is located at 313 W B St. in Russellville