Restaurants & Bars

Pacific Northwest

[PDX] Khun Pic's....

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[PDX] Khun Pic's....

Nick | Aug 24, 2003 12:24 AM

Finally went to Khun Pic's for dinner. Interesting place. Feels almost like a bed and breakfast, like you're stepping into someone's home where they happen to have a restaurant.

The menu is limited compared to most Thai restaurants, maybe 5 entrees and a special and a few appetizers total. At the top of the menu you are told that all dishes are made to order by Khun Pic and that things may take a little longer than normal.

We split the green papaya salad and I got the green curry with chicken and my wife got the pad thai with tofu and vegetables.

The green papaya salad was pretty good, very fresh tasting, with a nice tooth to the green papaya shreds (someone please tell me how these places get such great vermicelli-like strings of green papaya; I never can). The salad also had quarters of very ripe roma tomatoes, peanuts, green beans, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary. Not a very strong fish sauce flavor to the salad.

My wife's pad thai was decent. A lot of vegetables along with it. Huge variety of squash, including what looked like yellow, zucchini, and maybe chayote or something similar. The noodles were somewhat understated in their flavoring. I'm used to the range being from ketchupy Americanized, very sweet versions, to strongly flavored, but balanced versions with tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, and heat. This had a flavor, but it was fairly mild. Again, not much of a fish sauce flavor. I think the main flavor was tamarind but a rather unsweetened tamarind.

I liked my green curry pretty well. Not much in the bowl besides chicken, the sauce, basil, and bamboo shoots. I love green curry and bamboo shoots together. A very tasty green curry, I think. One mild disagreement with the chef, however. I got it medium plus heatwise which was a good temperature for me. However, she used dried red chilies to add extra heat over the natural heat, I think. I think fresh chiles should have been used to maintain that fresh zing that I associate with green curries.

btw, much like Lemongrass, Khun Pic's is in an old Victorian. They have garden dining out front, which was nice, though noisy, where you can sit under their rose and other bushes and trees. Wonderful smell. The interior looked nice as well. Not fancy (though we were using real silverware), but pleasant, like eating on grandma's patio with all her stuff she's had since she was a newlywed.

Our dinner took about two hours from being seated to getting the check. Definitely a lot of time to talk, almost San Francisco type service. The waiter, the husband, I believe, said it was a little longer than normal, his wife, the chef, I believe, was "burnt out". Tomorrow they leave for vacation and the restaurant will be closed temporarily (they have a sign saying how long out front). He also came out at one point with green beans stuck to him she had thrown at him. When we arrived (a little before they opened) we saw a cucumber come bouncing through the dining room from the kitchen. I think she had thrown it at him. This seems to be a bit typical in Portland. I know the fighting husband/wife team at Lemongrass can get quite noisy.

Anyway, try it out. It's just a couple storefronts west of Wunderland/Avalon behind the gate/garden on the north side of Belmont (about 3400, I think). They open at 6 pm. I'd sure like to get the impression of those who are sticklers for "authentic" Thai food.

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