April 12, 2024
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Mystery Diner: Stuffing ourselves at Krystal Thai Restaurant in Crystal Lake

When you enter the restaurant, you’re met with relaxing instrumental music and an ornately decorated dining area. The restaurant was clean and open, and the staff was friendly and polite as we were seated in a dining area that included longer tables and a few private tables next to a large open window. The restaurant’s menu was reasonably priced, with entrees generally costing between $9.95 and $14.95. There was much to choose from, including a variety of appetizers. I chose the veggie egg rolls, which were available in an order of either three or five. My fellow diner ordered the Crab Rangoon and a plate of chicken pot stickers. The appetizers came out quickly and altogether would have been enough food for another two people to share with us. Although it was tempting to eat it all, we paced ourselves for dinner. The egg rolls were crispy and stuffed with corn, beans, cabbage, carrots, and peas, and came with a side of sweet and sour sauce for dipping. My fellow diner reported that both the chicken pot stickers and crab Rangoon were a good texture on the outside and soft on the inside. We chose our entrees from a menu that is divided into several, including rice dishes, noodles, seafood and curries. I chose the Pad Kee Mou – Thai-style noodles, stir-fried with my choice of meat or tofu, basil, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers. My fellow diner ordered the stir-fried chow mein – egg noodles that were stir-fried in a “special house sauce” with shredded carrot, onion, cabbage, and vegetables. We each were asked how spicy we wanted our food on a scale of one to five. Looking at the menu, the restaurant seemed to have plenty of safe options for people who might be on a meat- or dairy-free diet. Entrees generally came with the diner’s choice of chicken, tofu, beef, pork, shrimp or seafood. The staff was attentive and polite while we waited for our food, which also came out fairly quickly. The basil in the Pad Kee Mao tasted fresh and complemented the rest of the dish nicely. The tofu was firm, browned and seasoned. Unlike some restaurants, where the tofu is occasionally soft and bland, this tofu had a nice flavor and texture. My fellow diner reported that the stir-fried chow mein was flavorful and filling – although we paced ourselves earlier, we still left with bags of leftovers. We didn't have room for the assortment of desserts that the restaurant offers, including homemade ice cream, Thai custard and sticky rice with mango or coconut ice cream. For three appetizers, two drinks, and two entrees, our bill came out to just less than $50. • The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story. WHAT: Krystal Thai WHERE: 230 W. Virginia St., Crystal Lake WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday INFORMATION: Call (815) 444-0004