New Mai Thai restaurant offers homemade, family-inspired cuisine

New Mai Thai restaurant offers homemade, family-inspired cuisine

The owners of Mai Thai Cuisine, Suchittra Phovijit, of Providence, left, and her sister Savitree Vasco, of Cranston, stand in their newly-opened restaurant. (Breeze photo by Melanie Thibeault)

SMITHFIELD – At the corner of the Smithfield Plaza, 115 Pleasant View Ave. in Smithfield, a new family-owned Thai restaurant is serving up fresh, homemade recipes.

Mai Thai Cuisine, owned by sisters Savitree Vasco, of Cranston, and Suchittra Phovijit, of Providence, opened on Dec. 29 after months of advertising “coming soon” at the 2,400-square-foot location.

“We’re excited,” Vasco, who also serves as the head chef, told The Valley Breeze & Observer last week. “It’s a very nice town ... We hope people come out and try (the restaurant).”

Mai Thai’s menu features dishes inspired by family recipes, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options, Vasco said.

No food is pre-made and ingredients are fresh – not canned, she added.

“I eat healthy food,” Vasco, a Johnson & Wales graduate, said. “That’s something from our hearts. It’s our lifestyle.”

Catering to the customer is something Vasco said she’s learned from previously owning Siam Square, a Thai restaurant in East Providence, for 6 years. Orders at Mai Thai can be customized by request – “we can pretty much do anything,” she said.

According to Vasco, some of the most popular dishes are pad thai, which includes homemade sauce, and Twin Delight, a stir fry consisting of shrimp and chicken with assorted vegetables in oyster sauce.

“Most people who never had Thai food assume it’s spicy,” Vasco said. “Don’t assume ... give it a chance.”

Dishes, she pointed out, can be mild, spicy, hot and spicy, or very hot and spicy, depending on diners’ preferences.

The menu includes appetizers, salads, soups, vegetable dishes, house curry, noodle and fried rice dishes, and house specialties.

Prices range from $3.95 for soup to $18.95 for a crispy duck dinner.

The owners said they plan to include monthly specials in the future.

Mai Thai has a full-service bar and a license to serve alcohol from 4 p.m. to close.

A drink menu includes bottled and draft beers, red and white wine, sangrias, margaritas, martinis, and specialty cocktails such as Mai Thai, Thai Royal Punch, Red Dragon, Blue Sea, and Bangkok Bowl.

Inside the restaurant, walls are decorated with handmade artwork shipped from Thailand, Vasco said.

Born in Bangkok before moving to Los Angeles and then Rhode Island, Vasco said that she and her sister wanted customers to “see our culture.”

The theme, she added, is elephants because they’re symbols of “good luck” in Thailand.

They must be working because the restaurant has been busy, especially on the weekends, Vasco said.

Mai Thai, which seats 42, offers dine-in, take-out, catering, and reservations.

The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information, call 401-231-7647 or visit www.maithaicuisineri.com .

Twin Delight, a stir fry of shrimp and chicken with assorted vegetables in oyster sauce, is a popular dish at the restaurant, which opened on Dec. 29. It costs $8.50 on the lunch menu and $13.95 for dinner. (Breeze photo by Melanie Thibeault)
Steamed Thai dumplings with soy sauce at Mai Thai Cuisine. Pictured behind the dumplings are Golden Bags, a crab ragoon-style appetizer. (Breeze photo by Melanie Thibeault)
Pad thai with shrimp, a dish at Mai Thai Cuisine in Smithfield. (Breeze photo by Melanie Thibeault)