Ounjit Hardacre dreamed of opening up a noodle shop for years. She grew up working in her family’s business in Thailand and opened up her first noodle cafe in Bangkok after earning her undergraduate degree in applied statistics. She loved cooking in the noodle cafe and when she moved to San Francisco to earn her MBA she began to work in a Thai restaurant – Osha Thai – where her love for Thai cuisine deepened. After receiving her MBA and working in San Francisco for 10 years Hardacre and her husband decided to move to Denver to raise their children – twin boys. “We wanted to be able to live in a house and raise our children in a different environment,” Hardacre stated.
A few years after moving to Denver Hardacre opened her first local restaurant – Citizen Thai – in downtown Golden. “It’s a family restaurant and fits in well in Golden,” she said. Her goal when looking for a space for her second restaurant was to find something small and intimate where she could open up a noodle shop. “When I found this place I knew it had to be different [than a noodle shop],” Hardacre said, and that’s when Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar blossomed. The space is large, there are many offices within walking distance and there’s a bar which made it the perfect location for a high-end restaurant. Hardacre worked with an architect to design the interior and finished it off with thoughtful touches like hanging light fixtures and Thai-inspired artwork that makes the dining room feel intimate. A mural depicting the silhouette of a girl – or daughter – dancing in the sunset with a city in the background spans the back wall to round out the Thai design.
The food is an eclectic mix of local, high-quality ingredients and Thai flavors. Hardacre designed the menu with outstanding ingredients and traditional Thai techniques at the forefront. From there she was able to create a mix of dishes that will excite and impress both Thai food connoisseurs and newcomers alike. The menu is split into small plates, Thai street food, entrees and sides. Notable entrees include the lamb massaman curry ($34) which combines Colorado lamb with a hearty curry sauce that’s slightly sweet and not too spicy. Lychee gives the dish an unexpected texture and burst of flavor that rounds out the intense Thai flavors. The Khao Soi Kai ($18) is reminiscent of a curry dish yet composed like a bowl of ramen with northern style egg noodles, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, egg and three types of onion. The Oriental Octopus ($13) provides a lighter seafood option on the small plates list and the Bangkok Ribs ($9) almost fall off the bone they’re so tender. The traditional Pad Thai Goong ($17) provides a classic option on the list of Thai Street Food options.
The Platte Street area offers a diverse selection of restaurants and Daughter Thai adds a unique and delicious option to the food scene there. Whether you’re in the area or not it’s worth a visit to experience Thai food like you never have before.
Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar is located at 1700 Platte St. Suite #140, Denver. Open Monday – Friday 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. and 5- 10 p.m. and Saturday 4- 10 p.m.
All photography by Marla Keown.