The former chef at Thai House Express in San Francisco has left, along with his sous-chef, and opened Chai Thai Noodles in Oakland, says DezzerSF. It has about 10 nicely spaced four-tops and a flat-screen TV on the wall.
The new place has all the atmosphere of an institutional shower room, complains Robert Lauriston, who doesn’t like the bright fluorescent lights and white tile. However, the squid salad is “stellar,” and he also liked the Dungeness crab noodles despite a paucity of the promised crab.
The menu is basically the same as at Thai House Express, minus a few items, say hounds. The much-loved pork leg stew is there, almost as good as ever, says pastryqueen, whose only quibble is that the rice seems to be regular long-grain, not jasmine.
Catfish salad (yum pla dook foo) is “more like an airy batter with catfish bits mixed in, served over a bed of shredded lettuce, and topped with cashews and red bell pepper,” says DezzerSF. It’s served with a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, red onions, and cilantro.
The finely textured, lemongrass-scented fried sausage is nicely browned, with “an addictive snap,” says daveena, who adds that another catfish dish, this time deep-fried pieces of fish with vegetables, is also really tasty, with a similar sauce as the salad.
Back in SF, Thai House Express doesn’t seem to have suffered. The pork leg stew is still juicy and tender, reports DaveMP. “One of the best meals you can get for $8 in San Francisco,” he says, even though here, too, the rice now seems to be long-grain.
Chai Thai Noodles [East Bay]
545B International Boulevard, Oakland
Thai House Express [Tenderloin]
901 Larkin Street, San Francisco