The moment you walk into Deejai Thai restaurant, you breathe a sigh of relief and relaxation. The muted light, except for the natural sun streaming in from the large windows on a sunny day, solidifies the hushed ambience and allows you to breathe easy. The excellent service continues gentle and calm.
This serene environment is an appropriate counterfoil to the food, which is exciting to the tongue. Many of the dishes include assertive flavors that you would hope to taste in Thai cuisine: chile peppers, lemon and lime juice, ginger and cilantro, and lemongrass – to name a few of the many.
The dishes my guest and I ordered were delicious and delightfully fresh. We started off with two appetizers: Tom Kha, a flavorful soup with a coconut-vegetable broth-chile base that included tofu (shrimp is another option), cabbage, mushrooms, scallions, cilantro, and tomato.
The basil rolls were rice-paper-wrapped bundles of shrimp (tofu is a veg option), bean sprouts, lettuce, rice noodles, and basil. They were served with a thick, sweet plum sauce.
Our shared entrée was a delight: Green curry, medium hot, with shrimp, scallop, mussels, and squid plus Japanese eggplant, red pepper, green pepper, and zucchini.
“Deejai means good or happy heart,” the owner Jai explained to us. She added that the restaurant’s name was chosen partly because it includes her name and partly because of its upbeat meaning. As far as my guest and I were concerned, Deejai did exude good heart. The food, delightfully fresh and prepared in the kitchen by Jai’s mother, felt like a labor of love that the Jai and her mother want to share with the community.
Deejai is a one-of-a-kind local restaurant that has been open since April 2009. In addition to the main dining room, there is also an outdoor alley for dining al fresco and a larger room downstairs for groups of up to 20, at no extra charge.
613 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
Open Weekdays 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm;
Weekends 5am-5:30am, 5pm-10pm