Talking Thai with Puket Café
1. Tell us about Puket Café
Puket Café is named after the island of Phuket in Thailand. We serve mostly Thai food, along with Vietnamese noodle soup, also known as pho.
Thai food is authentic, flavorful, and made with a broad spectrum of choices. Our Thai food will not only challenge your palate, but change your perception on food overall. Thai food is often mistaken for being spicy, but at our restaurant we offer our patrons exquisite flavors from sweet to spicy or whatever suits your palate.
The ambiance of our restaurant has a fine dining feel to it, but we have many casual diners.
2. Can you make a few recommendations?
For first timers I would recommend the Thai Spicy Salad with grilled beef tenderloin. It’s served with an assortment of vegetables which includes flavors that are sweet, sour, and spicy.
If someone is new to Thai food there are actually a couple of dishes that I would recommend. If you like things spicy I would recommend the Red Curry with your choice of grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, or grilled beef. This dish comes with a spicy coconut curry sauce. It's sauteed with bamboo shoots, bell peppers, carrots, egg plants, and basil leaves. White jasmine rice is served on the side.
For people that do not like spicy food, I would recommend the King and I. This dish comes with 3 meats: chicken, shrimp, and pork, sauteed with carrots, baby corn, pineapples, onions, broccoli, snow peas, and mushrooms in a tasty brown sauce.
If someone is familiar with Thai food and wants to be a little adventurous, I would recommend the Kaw Soi to challenge their palate. Kaw Soi is thin slices of yellow rice noodles. This dish comes with soft chaing mai noodles on the bottom and crispy noodles on top. It's topped off with sauteed chicken and shrimp floating in a delicious curry sauce. It's also garnished with red onions, bean sprouts, string beans, and a slice of lime on the side.
3. Do you have signature items that people would associate with Puket Café?
Any of our dishes with the grilled beef tenderloin would have to be one of our signature items. The beef is seasoned and cooked to perfection. It’s juicy, tender, and it’s guaranteed to make you want to come back for more.
4. Can you recommend a hidden gem?
One of our hidden gems is our whole red snapper with the bone in. It comes out with an awesome presentation. For people who like a spicy taste, I recommend the lemon chili sauce with the snapper. This sauce has an excellent salty, sweet, sour, and spicy taste. Or, if you prefer a non spicy sauce, I would recommend the ginger wonder sauce. This sauce has a magnificent brown ginger scallion taste. And both of the dishes come with a fresh assortment of vegetables.
5. What’s your favorite dish?
My favorite would have to be our Golden Crispy Chicken in Basil Leaves. This dish comes with a combination of crispy chicken, bamboo shoots, carrots, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and scallions that is sauteed in a tasty spicy sauce topped off with crispy basil leaves on top.
6. What is Pho?
It’s a Vietnamese soup made with noodles and other ingredients. Pho can be eaten at any meal. The portion size is quite large so Pho is generally eaten as a whole meal, although if you’re really hungry you can start with an appetizer. Pho is typically eaten with chopsticks and a spoon.
Pho is definitely one of our customer favorites. The most popular Pho is our Noodle House special. This bowl comes with all cuts of beef including rare steak, well done flank, well done brisket, and meatballs.
One of my favorites pho's is our 3-flavors style. The broth in the soup has a unique sweet, sour, and spicy taste. It also comes with cilantro and culantro diced into the soup along with a sprinkle of peanuts to give the soup a crunch.
7. Can you tell us about the owner?
Puket Café is owned by Allen Chaleunsack. He used to live in Connecticut where he’s owned multiple 5-star rated restaurants. He wanted to move down south to warmer weather and was originally just passing by Jacksonville when he saw a restaurant space that was up for grabs, which he snapped up before the opportunity passed him by.