Takoi, formerly known as Katoi, is a Thai restaurant located at 2520 Michigan Avenue, Detroit. Courtney Henriette and chef Brad Greenhill started the restaurant in 2014 as a food truck called Katoi. The restaurant rapidly developed into an Ann Arbor pop up and, in 2016, opened a proper physical location at 2520 Michigan Ave. Detroit. The 1900 square foot building formerly functioned as an auto garage. Since 2014 the restaurant has undergone many developments, including the change of venue and restaurant’s name and the arson of February 2017 that brought the business to a standstill for six months. The restaurant has been the recipient of several awards, and the owners credit teamwork as the reason for their enormous success.
The setup is gritty and urban. The restaurant features a 12 feet high cyclone fence surrounding the property. New York architect Ishtiaq Rafiuddin chose this design for a couple of reasons. First, transparency allowed people on the outside to see into the restaurant. There was also the idea of growing a large green wall up the fence. The restaurant’s interior features a maze of low banquette seats, soft purple lighting, a translucent blue-lit back bar with bottle shelves, and a high dark ceiling. The table setting is simple, although a little cramped. The staff are quite delightful and are happy to work at the restaurant. They are also quite helpful when explaining the dishes making the overall experience a memorable one.
As for the food, Takoi offers some of the best Thai meals you can find in Detroit. Their menu has an excellent distinction. It features a concentration, depth, and balance between coolness and heat, and the range of spices. The delight of moving from one bite to the next, and then onto a completely different world when another exquisite plate is brought to your table is nothing short of magnificent. To understand the restaurant’s achievement and those of Chef Brad Greenhill, you have to indulge in at least one dish. The pumpkin starter course is an excellent place to start. It is first roasted then cut and glazed with green curry paste. Being the cornerstone of Thai cuisine, chef Greenhill incorporates paste in virtually all meals he makes. The paste in the pumpkin dish has green Thai chili, coriander seed, garlic, shallot, and lemongrass. It is then fried with coconut milk with a small lime leaf in it. This may seem like a simple paste, but it is full of flavor. Next, the pumpkin pieces are fried with the coconut milk and paste, and some chrysanthemum is added for a celery flavor followed by Thai basil. The dish is then dressed using a bright vinaigrette with ginger, lime, dry chili, tamarind, and garnished using shallots and cashew nuts.
Another exciting dish is short ribs, which are cooked for about two days in a sous-vide system. Since there’s a lot of meat between the bones that can’t be used in the rib dish, egg roll scraps are used with cabbage, chili, Chinese celery, shiitakes, and Thai peppers. The Thai chili sauce infused with lemongrass and herbs adds a herbaceous flavor to it.