(Update - Crazy Wok went through a facelift in 2008, added space to double their capacity, changed the interior to more of a contemporary Asian bistro look and changed their name to Tantra Asian Bistro. It's still just as good as it was when it was called Crazy Wok. Maybe better.)
I've had a few people say to me, "Why don't you talk about Quad City restaurants? Don't you go out to eat when you're home?"
Well, yes, we do. Almost too much, it seems, given that I would rather cook at home than eat in a restaurant most nights. But with our schedules out of whack lately - and the fact that our kitchen has been going through an excruciatingly slow remodel process - we've found ourselves eating out more often than not over the past couple of months.
One of the places that we've found is a little Thai restaurant called Crazy Wok Tantra Asian Bistro on E. 53rd St. in Davenport (see map). Now, over the years, I haven't been too hip on Thai restaurants. The first Thai restaurant I ever ate at - the old Sri Lanka in Minneapolis - was "burn-your-face-off" hot. Well, actually, that was over 20 years ago when I ate there and I've since garnered an appreciation for spicy foods. I'd always said that I'd like to go back and try it again, but they've since closed up.
We have another Thai restaurant not far from our house - Exotic Thai - that Cindy really liked. She took me there one night and I was not impressed with it. I thought the portions were small for the price and I just didn't care for the taste sensations - or the lack of taste sensations - that I thought Thai food should have.
Cindy continued to go to Exotic Thai, especially when I would be out of town. Earlier this year, Crazy Wok Tantra opened up and Cindy gave it a try one evening when I was traveling. She was instantly hooked.
About a week later, she brought home some of their spicy basil and beef for me to try one Saturday last spring when we were working in the yard. The taste sensation was out of this world. I told her that, yes, I wanted to go try this place out.
We went there soon thereafter and I ordered the spicy basil with beef again. It was even better than the stuff she brought home. It wasn't all that spicy (then again - what's spicy to us is frigging red hot to others), and there was a great after taste in the sauce they used with the beef and basil. It was outstanding.
We went there again a few weeks later and I had the ginger beef. Although it was good, it was not as good or flavorful as the spicy basil and beef. Each time we've gone back, I've gotten the spicy basil and beef. And the last time I went, I asked them to spice it up even more and to add garlic. The bottom line on the taste? It was out of this world.
It turns out that one of the partners in Exotic Thai - I only know him as Kevin - is the guy who started Crazy Wok Tantra. He's a very nice guy and is always appreciative when we come in.
Cindy told me that she's since gone back to Exotic Thai and she said, "Oh, I can tell a BIG difference between the two. Crazy Wok (Tantra) is so much better. I won't go to Exotic Thai again."
Actually, you can order the spicy basil dish with either beef, chicken or pork. But I always go with the beef. I just want to lick the plate clean, it's so damn good.
The big thing about Crazy Wok Tantra is that it's elegant, but not pretentious. The atmosphere is comfortable. They don't allow smoking any where in the restaurant. There's linen table cloths on each of the tables. The service is always good. They do have Thai beers and a nice little wine list. And their bathrooms are the cleanest bathrooms I've ever been in at a restaurant.
Crazy Wok Tantra is one of those great little Quad City secrets that I've just outed here in Road Tips.