First impressions when we walked in the door was how different the place looked from other establishments in Leawood. The restaurant after all is in the strip mall. A nice strip mall but a strip mall nonetheless. It is almost too much as you pull the heavy doors and enter into extreme dark. In fact, you could not really take in the decor until your eyes start to adjust. We were taken into a lounge area to await our seating.
|Kathryn savoring her Outcast|
We were seated almost immediately on the second floor which overlooks the main dining room. The main floor has a ginormous Buddha and water fall. This is when it starts to sink in that the place feels a bit "themey". Almost like, Rain Forest for adults. However, we were game for anything. By anything, I mean cocktails. So we started with one of their signature cocktail called Overcast. These were delicious pear ginger vodka martini served with dry ice. Gimmicky? Perhaps. However, a few of us ordered a second one.
|Maggie taking lighting into her own hands|
We whipped out our iPhones to read the menus as the candle light wasn't cutting it in the cave like atmosphere. We ordered the 7-Spice Crusted Crispy Calamari with sweet mango miso sauce and the Tempura Rock Shrimp with spicy “Tom Yum” aioli and their Spring Rolls. Heavenly. So far so good. The entree menu offered an array of what we'd call Asian Fusion. Although Thai appears in the name of the restaurant that isn't all they offer.
For entrees, we ordered an assortment. The 7-Spice Crusted Salmon with bamboo rice and red curry sauce was tasty. It was a little on the hot side for some of us but not for others. Two of us ordered the Broiled Saikyo Miso Chilean Sea Bass with coconut sticky rice and orange miso glaze. They were very inconsistent because one version was very tasty and other had an extremely fishy taste. Pad Thai noodles came with fish sauce and pine nuts. You could select your spiciness. Prices were moderate and we did leave filled.
Throughout dinner each of us made our way back to the restrooms. This was dangerous people. Too dark and at least one bathroom had a step up that you soon forgot when you exited and stumbled out the door. The bathrooms were dark and consistent with the theme of the restaurant. A little additional lighting would be helpful because you shouldn't need a search party to find the toilet. Thank goodness for iPhones that light the way.
Our waiter was adorable. I won't mention which member was eyeing this charming twentysomething but it would violate the "I could be his mother" rule. . . . which only narrows it down to 5 of us. He was friendly and attentive until the end after our table was cleared and we had to hunt him down for a final round.
Sometime around 9ish, a strange thing began to occur. The main dining room was being cleared as patrons left. Then before our eyes, it became a dance floor. The restaurant we entered was transformed into a cheesy nightclub best located in the Power and Light district not Leawood. It was actually fascinating to watch as surprised patrons avoided the dance floor while a younger crowd began to appear to fill the floor. Perhaps this is just what the suburbs need to avoid the drive downtown. We finished our drinks and skedaddled because the music was so loud we were shouting at each other. Obviously, we are the target customers after 9 pm.
So, by mixed reviews, I mean each of us enjoyed part of the meal, found the decor fun yet cheesy. Thought the conversion into a downtown nightclub bordering on schizophrenic and predicted the place might be closed before I got around to writing this review. We hope not. It is a fun place it just seems out of place in Leawood. So please go experience Fo Thai and expect to enjoy your evening, eat some fun food and bring a headlamp.