After the recent thread about Thai Avenue, we decided to finally give it a try today.
We ordered an array of mostly Isaan dishes.
1) Nam Tok Nua (beef salad) -- Wonderful flavors-- spicy and sour. The beef I especially liked...I could taste the grilled smoky flavors. I like the flavors of Siam Noodle, but prefer the beef here. I wish I could combine the two:)
2) Fried Chicken -- Large, meaty and perfectly fried. I actually like the fried chicken here more so than Siam Noodle (which I will refer as SN here after). At SN, the fried chicken are that of tiny drummettes. But the spicy chili dipping sauce over at SN is better.
3) Sakrok Isaan (Sausage) -- Nothing wrong with this dish. Quite tasty. The "medicine" taste (which Erik informed me is due to the fermentation) is right in- between the strong taste of it at Spoon and the weak taste of it at Siam Noodle.
4) Meatball Soup -- Basically a Guay Tiew Nua (Beef Noodle Soup) without the noodles. Its oay here, the broth was rather thin...I prefer the thicker, richer versions of the broth (ie...Super Chef).
Not the same dish, but sharing a similar English name is the Boiled beef and meatball soup at Siam Noodle. One of my favorite dishes there...hits the spot EVERY time. The broth is rich and flavorful...the meatballs are lumpy and the beef tender. Try it, you guys will thank me.
5) Grilled Pork Neck -- One of my favorite dishes here. At first glance, it looks like regular pork. Its grilled perfectly. The meat is slightly chewy and tough...just the way it supposed to be. This dish reminds me of a dive bar in Thailand with people drinking Mekong or Black Cat. Perfect!
6) Som Tum Poo (Papaya Salad W/ Crab) -- Wonderful deep rich flavors. Just like Thailand...except a few degrees lower per request.
Overall, my impression of the place is that the chef is competent in making tasty authentic dishes. Everything we had was very "Thai". But Chicago Mike is right...this one is perhaps not the most adventurous of Thai restaurants. The overall meal tasted "safe" to me. There is nothing wrong with the place at all. Although the food is good, the people are nice...at the end of the day, I have to ask myself if I would choose this restaurant over the wonderful Siam Noodle or Super Chef nearby? I'm just not quite sure if this restaurant offered me anything that would enable me to make that choice. I will come back and try more dishes, especially the non-Isaan ones. I will give this one a chance...I do want them to succeed.
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