On a cold Saturday night in February, I ventured out to get some takeout from one of my favorite dine in restaurants in Appleton. Now, the aesthetics of a trip to Basil Café is definitely one of my favorite parts. It is like an international night out without even leaving the city. The lighting, the artwork, and the calming relaxed environment no matter how busy they were, was always a big draw of spending the evening there. They have adapted a new normal with transitioning to a carry out and delivery restaurant during this crazy time and are doing a great job of it. I placed my order over the phone and received a text message when my order was ready for pickup. All I had to do was text them when I was there and my order was delivered straight to my vehicle. Basil did a great job separating hot and cold items that would eventually be mixed so they would not get soggy. It also made a great way to reheat leftovers as their portion sizes are huge. I decided to order a little bit of everything off of their must try list and not only did it feed our family for days; it was some of the best food I’ve had in quite a while.
I first have to note, it is never a true Basil experience if you do not order the coconut water. The same silky, almost buttery and a touch sweet water that is served tableside, is also available for takeout. This stuff is so thirst quenching and hard to stop drinking. If you decide on takeout from here, I would one hundred percent add a couple glasses to your order.
To begin our tour of flavor we started with Nam Khao. This is a dish that gives you a little bit of everything and then some. It is truly something I didn’t know I was missing in my foodie life. You have get crispy fried rice packed with coconut, curry and lemongrass, fresh herbs, peanuts, pickled sausage (the best single bite of the whole thing), and so much more. That all gets wrapped in a lettuce wrap and topped with cilantro, mint and lime. My taste buds did not even know what to do. The flavor profile keeps you coming back for more and more of this savory treat.
Pho, a Customized Experiance
Next up, the Beef Pho`, the broth and the mix-ins came in separate containers so everything stayed fresh. It was great for my family to add in as little or as much as we liked. The broth lived up to the ten plus hours of simmering with deep, complex flavor. The thin sliced beef added good bite, the meatballs gave it that perfect umami funk, and the rice noodles made it a meal. The best part is customizing it with the array of bean sprouts, basil, fresh jalapenos, lime, Sriracha and Hoisin. This is a great go to meal any night of the week!
Since I am in love with all of their soup options I had to try another fan favorite, their Kow Boon. I’ve been told this is as comforting as a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup on a cold winter’s day. Well think it beats any chicken noodle soup I have ever had. The spicy curried broth is enough to get your nose running a bit and the coconut milk and lime calm the heat down. The huge amount of perfectly cooked chicken breast in the soup itself was a great surprise. None of that little tiny bites of meat you get in a lot of soups. This also came with a plethora of toppings and mix –ins to customize to your liking. If you are a soup fan, add this to your list.
Pad Kee Mao, Exploring Flavors
The final “new to me” item was Pad Kee Mao. Charred thick cut noodles mixed with veggies, beef (or your choice of protein), homemade sauce and chili oil. It was a great filling dish with some good heat. I enjoyed the thick noodles that gave the dish some chew. The veggies were spot on. It was an all-around great go to dish.
It was wonderful trying these new items and I would surely get them again. I do have a few frequent flyer dishes that I have a hard time steering away from if you want some other fun options. For my number one salad pick I absolutely adore their papaya salad. The balance of heat and sour is a perfect match. Another great soup option to add to the list is their Tom Yum, all of the flavors collide into a perfect whirlpool of unctuousness. I always get a container to go, even if I dine in. My number one pick over the years for entrée would have to be their Spicy Basil (seafood combo). It is served over rice and has plenty of fresh basil throughout. Be sure to order it a little on the spicy side for the full flavor profile.
I don’t think you could really go wrong in any order you get from Basil Café. They should be your next go to international food adventure if you have never been. If you have been, but not for a while, it is surely a destination that you should use your frequent flyer miles on. Hey, if we can’t travel overseas right now, at least we can do so through food, Basil Café does just that.