ITHACA, NY – In Thailand, it is customary for Buddhist monks to give a newborn baby a nickname based on the day, date and time of their birth.
In the wee hours of a Friday, December 25 not so long ago, Wanna Sutchai was born in Bangkok and given the nickname “Mix”.
She started working in restaurants at the age of 13 and her apprenticeship included training as a cook, chef, waiter and dishwasher. She never owned her own restaurant until she opened Mix on Elmira Road in Ithaca on August 5, 2016, at the site where Lucatelli’s had operated for many years.
She and her California-born husband Shane, whom she met in Thailand, immediately went to work on the renovation to create the beautiful place it is now. The carpet was replaced with a porcelain tile floor, the unpopular tops were replaced with faux marble tables, and a new transparent bar display was created. After adding an additional outdoor dining area, they can now accommodate around 200 diners at three indoor dining venues and two outdoor dining venues.
Mix offers fusion cuisine with hints of Thai, French, Italian and American specialties in its full menu.
The most popular menu items are the Half-Dozen Authentic Thai Noodle Bowls ($ 13.95). They include a choice of ramen egg noodles or vegetarian and gluten-free rice noodles. I recently selected Gaeng Phalo, a five-spice Daikon broth which, despite its name, is quite mild. You can choose to add any of the five proteins (from $ 2 Thai fried egg to $ 9 garlic shrimp). I ordered marinated crispy tofu ($ 3) which was cut into large, sturdy, meaty-type blocks.
Another popular breakfast item is “Max’s Fine Fried Chicken” ($ 15.95), which is cured in a solution of buttermilk, chicken broth, and seasonings. I chose it on a recent visit and received a nicely arranged platter of four pieces of chicken – breast, thigh, leg and wing – with a casserole of chopped brown cheddar, a side dish of creamy coleslaw from the south, a buttermilk cookie and a hot honey sauce. . The entire combination could have easily passed as a main course – it was a lot to eat. The chicken was well done, neither too wet nor too dry. The buttermilk coating was crisp but almost overwhelmed the chicken underneath. I really enjoyed the textures and flavors of the Hash Brown Cheese Casserole which looked more like a mound that had been placed on the plate with an ice cream scoop than a casserole dish. The hot honey sauce was, indeed, on the hot side, and might be a bit too much for some readers. However, it is served on the side and I was able to use as much, or as little, as I wanted. I asked for butter with the cookie and my friendly and efficient waiter promptly gave me a pat.
Four Burger Combinations ($ 14.95) are creative and interesting, and all three salad offerings should appeal to any palate.
At a recent dinner party, I chose and enjoyed the Duck Confit ($ 19.50), a quarter leg topped with crushed pecans and rosemary. To prepare, the chef gives it a quick “flash fry” dip in the deep fryer for a crispy outer coating, then finishes in the oven. Another time, I ordered a dish that was unfamiliar to me. I love lamb, and I generally love baby back ribs, so the unusual combination of lamb and ribs in the Pomegranate Mint Lamb Rib Dish ($ 18.40) intrigued me. . It’s hard to explain, but the ribs were lean, but juicy, and the pomegranate molasses frosting complemented the meat quite well.
Also at dinner there is a “Butcher Block” with five basic steaks ($ 36 – $ 48) with a choice of five different sauces.
The breakfast menu is extensive. There are 16 omelet choices ($ 9.95 – $ 14.95), including dishes from Italy, Germany, Thailand, Mexico, Greece, and France. There’s also a choice of nine varieties of buttermilk pancakes, half a dozen waffles, vegan French toast, vegan Benedict crab and vegan brown sugar oatmeal and many more creations to make an early morning more interesting. – and funny. Saturday and Sunday breakfasts are very popular so I try to go on weekdays.
The wine selection is impressive – not because of its scope, but because among the wines on offer there is an excellent selection of suitable countries and varietals. If you prefer beer or cocktails, you’ll be happy too.
-Almost all foods have a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free identification… and there are a lot of them.
– All breakfasts and lunches on the menu are available from 8:00 a.m.