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Khao San Road Review

table4onthefly | | Feb 19, 2011 06:57 PM

Haven't seen one yet on the boards, so I thought I'd post my critique of this new restaurant.


Food was placed as a take-out order

Ordered from the Lunch Menu

40 min round trip to and from Khao San and back to location of ingestion

Right then; on with the review!

1) Garlic Tofu

Tofu was absolutely crispy, as described. Nice creaminess in the middle, appreciated the total absence of chalky-ness that you sometimes get in other applications similar to this. Unfortunately, the advertised "Garlic Sauce" didn't make the trip back with me. Cynics may say that was my fault for not checking the contents of my bag, but I still feel like the restaurant has at least SOME responsibility towards ensuring my order is complete. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed the little nuggets and they also passed the 15 minute test (stayed crispy past 15 minutes, not including the 20 minutes they steamed in the bag prior to my return to work).

4/5 (.5 point deduction because the sauce was missing)

2) Pad Thai (Street-Style)

Somewhat pretentiously I asked if I could have a half order of both variations of pad thai in one container so we could taste both types. My request was politely denied, and I didn't want to press them, just out of respect for the menu not having a "Mix and Match your own dishes" option. I decided on the "Street-Style" pad thai, logically thinking that a restaurant named for a street in Thailand, must do good street pad thai.

Please understand that I am judging this dish solely upon flavor because of the transit time. We all know what happens to sauced noodles when they're left to sit for a bit.

The flavor was bland. Had you placed this dish in front of me and asked me what it is, I would not have said pad thai. We tasted no tamarind, though thankfully there was also an absence of ketchup as well. Perhaps "street-style" pad thai is a completely different beast, as the description on the menu is rather vague. I admit that I don't know exactly what "street-style" means, so maybe this is precisely what it should taste like. With no peanuts, and only a few shreds of cabbage, the dish was unpleasantly mushy. I will say that they were very generous with the amount of chicken provided. Maybe next time we'll go back for the other pad thai...


3) Khao Soi

Deconstructed for the take-out order, the dish came in separate containers of egg noodles, coconut curry with beef, crispy noodles and a lime wedge. Very nice thought on their part because it prevented overcooked and stodgy noodles.

I first must address the beef in this dish. I have a problem with incorrectly braised beef. Braising is heralded as being easy and simple, but that doesn't mean you can't mess it up. Take the beef in the curry, for instance; dry, stringy and not overly tender. I'm not sure if the beef was boiled too angrily during the braise, or if the wrong cut was used, or if the beef was left to sit outside of liquid while it cooled, but it was a massive disappointment. Hopefully it's an inconsistency with the kitchen, and I just ordered it on the wrong day.

The curry was nicely seasoned, and had that spice technique that I really like where the heat covers the entire surface of your tongue, from tip to the back of your throat. Too many times I have had curries where I can tell they only used cayenne because the tip of my tongue is on fire while the rest of my mouth is fine. This was done with finesse and balance, which I commend them for.

I don't think I have to describe the egg noodles or crispy noodles to you; they were competent for what they were there for.


4) Tapioca

This was fantastic. Way up there rubbing shoulders with Keller's Oysters and Pearls in terms of my favorite applications of tapioca. A creamy, yet light tapioca pudding served warm with thin strips of young coconut flesh. Wonderfully refreshing, it was a shame to have to swallow it eventually because it was like silk on the roof of my mouth. Tapioca pearls were perfectly cooked; soft but still offering delicate resistance. Most importantly of all, it wasn't too sweet.


Bill: ~$37
Final Remarks:

Not the best thai food I've had in Toronto (Thai Shan still holds that comfy seat), but with a few tweaks, and perhaps a drop in price, they could really go places here. Next time we'll be sure to try the other pad thai, and hopefully we'll be able to dine-in to eliminate any outside variables. For now, however, I feel like KSR is still a work in progress (understandable; they've been open for what - two weeks?) though, and I know the owners read these boards, I offer them nothing but encouragement because I see fantastic potential moving forward.

Khao San Road
326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

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