Went there for lunch yesterday with a vegetarian friend. This is the place that took over the Buddha's Delight II space on Harvard Ave in Brookline. I was really disappointed. I actually used to like Buddha's Delight, where I had a few regular dishes I was quite fond of and clearly am going to miss and where I could go with vegetarian friends and have them completely comfortable with the menu.
To begin with, the staff was smilingly pleasant but seemed pretty confused - language barrier and new restaurant blues maybe. Had trouble understanding what we were ordering, what should go with it and what we were trying to say about things like seating (restaurant was totally empty and since I'm on crutches I'd asked if we could have a table near a wall so I could prop them there, handy for me but out of the way). OTOH probably why we were pleasantly not hassled to order more, including even something to drink, and the check came while we were only part way through our main dishes, so not pushing the supposedly wonderful desserts either.
We ordered from the lunch special menu, which should have been simple enough and almost a matter of rote. It seemed to come as a shock to the waitress that that came with soup and an appetizer. Never did get the tea that's supposed to come with it. The soup was Tom Yum, and not bad if full of unusual ingredients like celery, with an unusually thick broth for the Thai hot and sour albeit not Chinese hot and sour thick, and not particularly spicy. Did have a couple or recognizable bits of Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves though.
I ordered one of my Thai restaurant favorites - Pad Kee Mao, with fake beef. Two big problems - the sauce was brownish, on the sweet side, and not even mildly spicy (the very mild Tom Yum was liquid fire by comparison) even though I had actually asked to have it extra spicy. I suspect they gave me pad see yew without the gai lan, but given the earlier language issues I just couldn't deal with trying to sort it out and suspected from the tom yum I wasn't going to get anything I'd be happy with as recognizably spicy anyway. Should have at least been Thai basil in it if they were going to pretend it was pad kee mao though. Other problem was that if there was any fake beef in there then I couldn't find it, unless it was indistinguishable from the brown colored (because of the sauce) rice noodles, which was possible. There were some very tiny brown bits of unidentifiable origin that I assumed were bits that broke off from the rice noodles or even chopped garlic but might have been supposed to be fake beef, but nothing like the nicely chewy meat textured pieces of seitan I remember from Buddha's Delight II. There was plenty of noodles, so I wasn't left hungry because of no meat, but it was all one taste and texture because it was all rice noodles. Not even the nice variety of veggies most places have with it.
My friend got the pad thai, which did have recognizable pieces of fake shrimp and chicken and while it wasn't remotely his favorite version and the shrimp were rubbery (something I'd warned him about seeing on reviews of the place) he said it was pretty good.
Can't see going back, even with a vegetarian friend. Pity the two asian veggie places in my neighborhood (I'm not at all a fan of Grasshopper either) are such downers. Yeah, I know places like Duk Boa have vegetarian options, but I'm clearly really going to miss Buddha's Delight more than I would have expected.
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