Canton: Nisa's Thai Restaurant

Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman

nisa Nisa's Thai is in Canton center. Christine, who lives here, says yes, let's eat at Nisa's. It's authentic and warm with fine service. People bring all their children and some of them are loud and louder. Nisa doesn't mind. I like to think that since I've been coming to Canton for years, that I know everything that's going on. And by going on I mean, where to eat because really, what else matters? Now I do. Nisa smiles as I take her picture. The kids are gone, thank goodness.

nisa appetizers We come here more than once. By now, you would think we have eaten tons of dishes. But we have not. Every time we sit down, though we promise we won't, we eat the same thing. Both of us. Because it's good and because it never gets old. I feel bad that I'm not describing vegetables that are tempura'd and taro puffs that are curried. But no. I could tell you about mango salad with shrimp and cashews, or beef salad with every pepper known to man, but no. The spicy udon with peppers, egg and onion with chicken, beef, pork or shrimp looks good. Or fried rice, eight ways. Rice is nice but no. It's always the same.

pad thai only Nisa's has lunch specials: pick a favorite and it comes with sides. Today there is chicken choo chee with curry, tom yum fried rice, kua gai noodles, chicken pad thai and pla ka pow with lots of peppers. You choose sides like tofu or golden triangles, pork dumplings, scallion pancakes, edamame and salad. We choose triangles (crunchy), soup (hot), pancake (crispy) and dumplings (always good). Don't want a special? The regular menu has everything. Is it soup yet? It is and this is what they have to say about how they cook: "Our menu offers dishes for every taste from hearty to light, mild to spicy and everything in between."

What do we have? It's pad thai. Lunch and dinner, always. At dinner we like it with shrimp. For lunch, it comes with chicken. Mine is sans nuts and eggs; Christine takes hers as it comes. You can choose chicken with shrimp, just shrimp, tofu or chicken alone. Why do we? Sprouts are crunchy, noodles slippery with fish sauce. It's piquant. Even scallions. Fresh shrimp and rice noodles, who invented this? Lime and tamarind with a hint of chili pepper and chives. More Thai Lotus, one of nine whites, for the table. Reds: one of each along with Singha, Lagunitas IPA and Whale's Tale among others.

What does single mindedness say about me or us, for that matter? Well, we like what we like. That I focus on one dish and try it everywhere. I mean, it's not like I make it at home. Once, it was BLT's everywhere and then a place north of Boston slapped a crab cake on my BLT. Who does that? We also eat fried calamari plenty and I want to do a meatball study. I have them, meatballs, in two places. One set is crunchy and the other is authentic. Where we go for the third try, they are out of meatballs. Really, who's out of meatballs? There was a city-wide run on meatballs? And crab cakes. I've eaten so many crab cakes that I know where the crab swam. And one day, there will be no more crab cakes. (As it turns out, this is true in January 2017.) This is my doing, but still. Who doesn't want to know? Now it's pad thai. I'm sure it will stop. But not today.

nisa's deessert Though we've had pad thai and dessert at Nisa's, the rest of the menu is as good. My theory: when one dish is great, it's an easy bet the rest is too. Here's dessert: mango with coconut rice. It's sweet with chewy rice and sesame seeds all at room temperature. Who else could find such mango in the market?

Nisa's Thai Restaurant
622 Washington St
Canton, MA 02021
781. 821. 6986

© May 2, 2016 Christine Smith is an attorney in Canton. Kitty Kaufman is a Boston writer. See more of their adventures at Corporate Edge and Christine Smith on Twitter and Kitty Kaufman on Twitter
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