It seems like Thai restaurants are popping up faster than teenage wood at the new Hooters joint at Arden fair. While they might not contain sweater meat and rib cushions in profusion, Thai restaurants usually provide an exciting array of uniquely spiced dishes, crisp Asian beer and creative head-dresses.
I’m not sure when it was that Thai went from fringe ethic eats to mainstream American diet, but I knew when I saw a “Taste of Bangkok” booth at the state fair that Thai food had definitely arrived. Let’s talk about the three I’ve eaten at most recently:
Fulton Ave near Cottage
Food **** Atmosphere ****
Thai Cottage sits on Fulton Ave like a grotesque pink bunker. Situated across the street from the iconic Buggy Whip, it has as much curb appeal as the dude Ed Norton f’s up in American History X. Walk inside, however, and this little hovel will treat you with its tasteful interior and elegantly sculpted backyard bamboo patch, very charming when lit up at night. The food is absolutely scrumptious and the service quick, polite and attentive. It’s a great quiet, relaxing spot and every trip there makes you think you’ve “discovered” something, kinda like when Indiana Jones uses the crystal headpiece on the Staff of Rah–yeah, kinda like that.
Fair Oaks Blvd and Munroe, Loehman’s Plaza
Food *** Atmosphere **
Thai House is a new joint that moved into Loehman’s Plaza and took over the digs of the ill-fated “Rice Bowl Express.” (If the original Rice Bowl was bad, imagine how the Rice Bowl Express was.) The interior is “upscale-dive,” not yet to the point where they can afford covers on the menus, but high class enough to offer linen napkins. Because the place is so small, the service is quick and usually intelligible. I’ve heard, as well as experienced, both good and average food there, but the good stuff will really blow you away. Well priced and easy to get to, I’m a big fan. Try the green curry, medium spice. If you order the spicy, you will probably need a hazmat crew to resuscitate you.
3262 J St
Food ** Atmosphere ***
A good friend of mine told me the Thai Palace was her favorite Thai place in town. Unfortunately, she failed to mention that the only other Thai place she had ever been to was Arby’s. Ok, Thai Palace isn’t that bad. The interior is pretty and the location is great, being within staggering distance from the Raven, but the food lacks a little something, and that something is meat. On my only trip to Thai Palace, we received three or four dishes, advertised as chicken, beef and shrimp dishes, that couldn’t have had less meat in them had they been vegetarian plates. The size of the dishes (small) compared with their price (forget about buying that new car) turned me off to the Thai Palace. With all the other options springing up around town, from Cambodian to Asian fusion to Vietnamese/Laotian/Latvian, it might be a waste of your time to check out the Thai Palace. I probably won’t be going back, especially since I just got a new car.