Price (per entrée): $10-25
Sweet Chili is Bozeman’s most upscale Thai restaurant, offering all of the usual fare along with a few pricier specialties. Located on the northeast corner of Main and Black, Sweet Chili is barely visible behind a heavily tinted glass exterior. The recently remodeled interior is an entirely different story and a nice surprise, with giant cushioned green chairs accompanying white tablecloths and a new bar complete with back-lit shelves.
Within the first five minutes of walking into the restaurant I was attended to by the maître d, my waiter for the evening, and the busboy, all of whom asked me if I needed anything at least once throughout my meal. Perhaps it was a slow night, but the service was fast and professional.
The menu spans several pages, including appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, curry, noodles, rice dishes, and a “chef recommended” section, which has a few specialty dishes ranging from $20-$25. The beer selection is pretty standard, and the wines include a few reds and whites, priced between $26 - $50 a bottle.
To start, I ordered a Thai iced tea for only $2. It was good, but overly sweetened, as it often is. For an appetizer I ordered the fresh summer rolls, which are raw sliced vegetables wrapped in rice paper with a sweet chili dipping sauce. The description mentioned peanut powder in the sauce, but I don’t think there was any in mine. The rolls offered texture, but little flavor, as the sauce was fairly bland.
Fortunately, my entrée was as delicious as my appetizer was disappointing. I decided to splurge on one of the specialties and ordered the Phad Phed Bison, which was a good-sized portion of bell peppers, bamboo shoots, chunks of eggplant, basil leaves, and pineapple. I almost didn’t order this dish solely because I usually don’t like pineapple in more substantial food, but when I found out it wasn’t one of the main ingredients I decided to get it anyway. The pineapple was minced and wasn’t texturally pervasive, but it still proved to be an integral part of the sauce. It complemented the spicy chili base so well that it revised my view on pineapple as an ingredient.
Fittingly enough, “Sweet” is the word I would use to describe my experience at Sweet Chili. Everything I ordered, between the Thai iced tea, my appetizer, and my entrée, happened to fit the adjective. I imagine some of the menu doesn’t necessarily carry out this theme, but I was starting to get a little tired of it halfway through my entrée, exquisite as it was. Regardless, if you order carefully, the experience can be worth the price, because my entrée was one of the best Thai dishes I have ever had.