Makeover complete: Sun Restaurant goes upscale - PHOTOS
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • July 23, 2012 @ 9:25am
It’s been a long four months of renovation for Sun Restaurant owners Kevin and Stephanie Lin, who transformed the Thai-Burmese restaurant in Black Rock from half-grocery store, half-restaurant to full-bore restaurant—without closing for a single day.
The main entrance has shifted from facing Niagara Street to the north side, immediately connected to the parking lot. As customers walk in, they’re greeted by an interior of wooden framing on the walls and plenty of yellow light rather than the dreary gray grocery area that marked the entrance before. There’s a feeling of formality and class that was absent prior, and the decor and the table settings lend a more professional setting.
With elongated booths that can seat parties of six rather than four, the “downstairs” eating area can house 50 diners, while the upstairs portion fits 20. On my trip, the staff milled about wearing Sun t-shirts touting their recent Spree Magazine Best of Buffalo Award for Best Asian Restaurant, an honor shared with Tonawanda’s Peking Quick One.
The Lins also mentioned that Sun had applied for a license to sell alcohol from the upper eating area, which is now complete with a small bar (see below). Stephanie Lin added that beer and wine would be the primary beverages sold.
It’s evident that the direction of the restaurant has changed—and that the renovation was a little pricy—as the cost of the average entree has increased between $2 and $3. For instance, the Thai Basil Fried Rice has jumped from $9.99 to $12.99 while the Pad Thai increased from $8.99 to $10.99.
The restaurant’s allure hasn’t changed, however, as its selection of Burmese and Thai entrees is unrivaled, and there’s always something new to try. The Buffalo News’ Andrew Galarneau suggests the Own No Koksware, a “Burmese style egg noodle soup with coconut milk, chicken, tamarind, boiled egg, onion, fish sauce and crispy flat noodles” that can be customized from tangy to spicy very quickly. (See Nelson Starr in Visit Buffalo Niagara’s Buffalo. For Real TV video below).
Both the Pad Thai (famous Thai stir-fried noodles with light sweet and sour sauce, bean sprouts, garlic, green onions, eggs, carrots and peanuts) and Thai Basil Fried Rice with beef (Thai style fried rice with egg carrot, green peas and basil leaves) were served with sriracha, the Thai condiment boasting power-packed chiles.
The fried rice was spicy enough without the sriracha, though I inevitably added some due to my unhealthy obsession, and Sun didn’t skimp on the strips of beef in the dish. I had no complaints about the quality or texture of the rice.
The Thai Lemon Iced Tea was monumentally sugary, which unfortunately overwhelmed the rather unorthodox flavor of Thai-brewed tea. Our server warned that the lemon version would be considerably sweeter than the plain Thai Iced Tea, though, and the instant sugar-high was noticeable. I wouldn’t have been opposed to a little ginger addition to cut the sweetness. Sun’s Thai Iced Coffee is also quite popular, we learned.
For dessert, I sampled the Taro Custard, a “Thai-style custard cake with coconut milk,” largely because I thought it had something to do with my distant relative Taro Tsujimoto, the fabled Buffalo Sabres’ draft pick in 1974. My worries about the consistency were alleviated—the custard cake was a good balance of gelatinous and cake-like, and it was more rich than sweet. Who knew taro was a root vegetable?