Dining Out 2 minutes 18 August 2023

This Thai Spot Brings The Heat for Under $50

Bib Gourmand Khom Loi uses equal parts passion and spice to kick-up the heat in wine country.

Editor's Pick Bib Gourmand California Thai

In case you need a refresh, the Bib Gourmand distinction is awarded to restaurants that offer multi-course meals at reasonable prices. And while all are unique and the “price” varies from country to country, the standard for quality remains the same.

That’s why every Friday, we’re highlighting our Bib of the Week; where to go, what dish to order, the best time to stop by, and everything in between. So whether it’s the uniquely fermented (and tasty) dishes at a neighborhood cafe in Washington, D.C. or the trays of hand-smoked meat in San Juan Capistrano, our selection of Bib Gourmand spots will leave both you and your wallet satisfied.

If you haven't had the chance to go to Thailand, don't fret. The team at Khom Loi have done the legwork with their Chiang Mai-inspired menu. Influenced by their travels throughout the country, each dish like house-made Thai sausage with green chili dip or the green curry with Manila clams and potatoes brings the heat and flavor.

But don’t take our word for it, check out what our Inspectors had to say here, and below, learn from the team on what you need to know before you go.

Dawn Heumann/Khom Loi
Dawn Heumann/Khom Loi

What is the dish to order at Khom Loi?

There are so many great dishes at Khom Loi! It's very hard to choose one. If I had to choose one right now, it would be the fish sauce caramel fried chicken.

Rice flour dusted chicken thigh fried to a golden crisp in tempura-style batter, tossed in our fish sauce caramel, a deliciously sticky concoction made from an aromatic chili oil, fish sauce, caramel and sauteed garlic. The chicken is sprinkled with fried shallots, served with bib lettuces, cucumber, cilantro and lime. This dish has it all! Starting with the crispy fried chicken, the sauce lends a wonderfully salty and sweet, mildly spicy flavor, with a touch of richness from the butter in the caramel. Wrapping the chicken up in a piece of bibb lettuce with an acidic squeeze from the lime wedge, crunchy cucumber and aromatic cilantro. It's a winner every time!

What price range can customers expect at Khom Loi?

If you want to get a starter/salad, entree, glass of wine and dessert. I'd say about $50 per person.

When is the best time to stop by?

Anytime is a good time to go! I'd say a nice sunny late afternoon or early evening, dining on the patio with good friends, it'll be a wonderful time for all!

Dawn Heumann/Khom Loi
Dawn Heumann/Khom Loi

What was the idea behind Khom Loi?

The idea behind the restaurant came from Moishe's travels into Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand. She fell in love with the bold, balanced flavors of Thai food and instantly started learning how to cook the cuisine. I attended two cooking schools to learn some of my favorite regional dishes and scoured the streets of the Bangkok and Chiang Mai street food scenes, as well as others, learning whatever people were willing to share.

The ingredients and overall food scene in Thailand blew me away. The flavors were bold, complex, and balanced, yet seemingly simple in their preparations. The restaurant was born out of my admiration and love for the cuisine and the Thai people, whom I found to be the most friendly, kind and generous people you will meet. We wanted to create a space that celebrated some of the flavors that were inspiring to me. We took inspiration from the cuisine and melded it with what our region (Sonoma county) has to offer, which we feel creates something unique. We use local farms; pink barn farm, singing frogs farm as well as feed sonoma, and Andy's to source produce. 

How would you describe your approach to food and cooking?

My approach to food and cooking is to keep it simple, start with quality ingredients, achieve a balance of flavor and texture, and maintain a light hand in the preparations. Sometimes it requires some trial and error, other times dishes just come together, but you can't give up, my goal is to make delicious food! When I taste something that excites me, I know I'm there. If I'm not excited about it, it doesn't go on the menu. 

Dawn Heumann/Khom Loi
Dawn Heumann/Khom Loi

Hero image: Dawn Heumann/Khom Loi

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