Other articles by the same author
Other articles by this author
After working for nearly three months fixing up the former Wing Heaven space at 950 Wealthy Street SE, brother/sister restaurateur duo Lisa and Joe Her have opened Erb Thai.
With the help of family, including brother Mao Her, the family-owned eatery plans to produce authentic and fresh Thai dishes that anybody can enjoy. Patrons will be able to order take-out or dine-in. Dishes are prepared to-order using original, family recipes.
Lisa Her says attention has been paid to many of the recipes to make them vegetarian and vegan-friendly upon request. This includes modifying the recipes of many of their sauces to replace ingredients like fish sauce and cream with non-animal products. Though these ingredients are not available during their soft opening, they will be available soon.
For my first meal at Erb Thai, I chose the “See-U,” a dish consisting of thick rice noodles sautéed with egg and broccoli and topped with bean sprouts. Patrons have their choice of protein, including chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, scallops, crab meat, tofu, or mixed veggies. I went with chicken, which came at no additional cost and a generous portion for only $7. The texture was good, although I could have gone for a little more crispiness on the noodles. The flavor was excellent and not masked by the spice at all.
Speaking of spice, the level is up to the customer, and the chiles can bring some serious heat. Having experienced rather mild dishes when ordering “very spicy” at other Thai restaurants, I elected to choose the “Extra Hot” level. WOW, was that hot. As somebody who can take some serious spice, this was exactly what I was looking for. I am not sure I can handle the highest level (“Erb Thai Hot”) quite yet, but it will not be long before some daring eaters give it a shot. Thankfully, coconut ice cream and bubble tea smoothies are offered to cool the palate.
One of the first customers, who labeled himself a Thai food aficionado, was eating while we ordered. As he left, I overheard him telling the cashier his meal was the best Thai cuisine he had ever had. Though I am not ready to make that assertion, I will definitely take him up on his challenge -- to use the menu as a checklist and try all of the offerings Erb Thai has on its extensive menu.
The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Ryan VanderMeer is a resident of the East Hills Neighborhood in southeast Grand Rapids. He is a father of one, business owner and volunteer with several organizations.