Cake Thai: ⭐️⭐️ 1/2 (Good)
Cake Thai in Wynwood is a formal step up from the MiMo District dive that Chef “Cake” whittled three years ago out of a Biscayne Boulevard strip mall, enticing off-duty chefs and fans of Bangkok-style street food.
For starters, there are bathrooms and air conditioning.
Still, nobody would call the former Makoto cook’s orange-painted, 1,300-square-foot café upscale. There are metal folding chairs too low for tables and missing rolls of toilet paper in the ladies’ room.
Yet when the evening sun dips and the ceiling lights filter through a sea of upended woven baskets overhead, the 30-seat dining room gets downright magical.
Hip-hop music rattles the house and plastic serving bowls shoot like rockets out of the kitchen, where Phuket “Cake” Thongsodchareondee can often be spotted in his backward baseball cap handing off dishes at the window.
What passes through are carefully orchestrated platters of his native cuisine designed to stretch Miami’s palate. Instead of sweet coconut and peanut butter sauces striving for mass appeal, there are curries that hit floral notes with Makrut leaves and soups that are simultaneously sour and spicy, tempered by thick square omelet chunks with veins of fresh, tender cha-om, a Southeast Asian vegetable.
With a duo of restaurants to his name and a town awakening to Chef Cake’s authentic Thai food, it looks like Miami diners will be able to have their Cake and eat it two.
Follow Jodi Mailander Farrell on Twitter: @JodiMailander.
For the latest restaurant inspection reports, visit dine.miami.com
Miami Herald critics dine anonymously at the newspaper’s expense.
180 NW 29th St., Miami (Wynwood)