It seems like there’s a Thai restaurant around every Greater Portland corner these days.
So when I first saw Jojo’s Thai Kitchen as I drove past it on Route 1 in Scarborough I thought, “Oh, another Thai place.” In a strip mall.
But after trying it for lunch, Jojo’s definitely stands out in my mind.
Though I got served quickly, in less than 10 minutes, my lunch was definitely not fast food. Everything tasted more like what I’d expect for dinner, but for half the money.
I started with the Vietnamese rolls, two for $7. They had minced, almost pureed, ground pork plus onions, carrots and glass noodles wrapped in rice paper and lightly fried. The outside was golden and crispy, the inside was moist and full of flavor.
For my main course I tried a mango curry with chicken for $8. There was so much of it that I saved half and ate it the next day at my desk. The curry was gold in color, light but creamy, with lots of vegetables that still had a nice bite to them. Chunks of tender chicken and mangos were mixed in. I asked for a mild spice level, which ended up being just enough heat for me. The dish came with a giant portion of white rice.
Based on what I had for lunch, I’d try any one of the five other curries on the menu. There’s a red curry with bamboo shoots and string beans, a green curry with zucchini, a yellow curry with pineapple, a massaman curry with potatoes and peanuts and a panang curry with peppers, baby corn and snow peas.
You can add either veggies, tofu, chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, seafood or crispy duck to each curry. Prices range from $8 to $11 for lunch curries and $11 to $14 at dinner.
The same price range holds for the entrée portion of the menu. There’s a cashew dish with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, pineapple and cashews in a “house” sauce as well as dishes in garlic, lemon grass and soy-ginger sauces.
The chef’s special part of the menu is a little pricey for lunch, ranging from $11 to $16, but includes some intriguing offerings. There’s a dish called “wild boar basil” featuring pork, peppers, bamboo shoots and onions in a spicy red curry sauce. There’s also a grilled salmon fillet over steamed vegetables in a tamarind sauce.
Thai soups include the hot and sour tom yum with lemon grass, lime and chili paste, and a tom kha with coconut milk, lemon grass and lime. Or you can make a meal of a noodle soup bowl by adding chicken, pork, or beef ($9) or duck ($10).
The place of course offers pad Thai and other noodle dishes.
Though it’s in a strip mall, Jojo’s is bright and cheery inside, with brightly colored walls and plenty of seating. It’s near the Oak Hill area of Scarborough on Route 1, so it’s on the way to a lot of places, making it a convenient stop.
Which is good for me, since I’ll be looking for opportunities to stop in again.
WHERE:183 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough. 883-5625; facebook.com/jojosthaikitchen
HOURS:11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: About 10 minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes