Ricky Thai Bistro: Fresh Cooking in North Miami (Photos)
Sometimes one street can hold a bounty of good restaurants, and lately Short Order has been doing a lot of good eating on North Miami's NE 123rd Street.
Photos by Carina Ost Phucket photobomb.
Now we have another delicious spot to add to the list: Ricky Thai Bistro. Its owners have a love story that's eerily similar to that of Primo Trattoria Italiana down the road. It involves a husband and wife from different countries falling in love in Rome and then opening a restaurant in North Miami.
Owner Giuliano Carrafelli is from Italy, and his wife, Majcha Manomai, is from Thailand. Ricky is the name of their adorable 9-year-old son, who replies, "I have no idea," when asked how it feels to have a restaurant named after him.
The family behind Ricky Thai. (Note: The daughter was at kung fu. But if there is another restaurant, it will likely bear her name.)
The family's restaurant cooks delicious, fresh fare. During one of our visits, the food we took home was a notch above every other Thai restaurant in the area. It was also more reasonably priced. We had the beef red curry ($12), ginger with tofu lunch special ($11), and tom kha goong ($5).
Tom kha goong.
Everything was packed with fresh flavor. The tom kha goong -- succulent jumbo shrimp in a spicy, sweet-and-sour coconut soup with lemongrass and lime juice -- won us over. After eating the shrimp, we wanted to sip the rest of the broth like tea.
During a second visit, we ordered the yum goong ($8.50) -- featuring large, perfectly cooked shrimp tossed in Thai chili sauce with raw onions and red bell peppers. It was full of different herbal notes.
But soon some things will change at Ricky Thai. After the New Year, Carrafelli will be forced to raise the price of his shrimp dishes.
Red curry with beef.
There's a disease killing shrimp in Thailand, China, and Vietnam -- the three largest prawn producers in the world -- and it's causing a supply shortage. Carrafelli has seen a price hike in wholesale shrimp from around $25 to $39.
He explained his restaurant has always offered larger shrimp at a supplement of $2 over chicken, beef, pork, tofu, or mixed vegetables. Most restaurants offer smaller shrimp and price the supplement at $3. But in 2014, Carrafelli most likely must increase the price of shrimp to $3 extra on dishes. He doesn't want to downgrade quality or size.