Hubby and I were in the mood for Thai food on a rainy night last weekend in Monterey. I really wanted to try Bhan Thai in Seaside, which jbyoga had mentioned in this thread:
and it happens to be close to our hotel, so we headed over. Alas, it was not to be: it was closed: apparently it isn't open on Sunday nights?
Disappointed we decided to head back downtown to Krua Thai. I haven't eaten there in quite some time, but most reports, including this one, have been very positive:
Bottom line: it was decent to good, but nothing special. Granted, we had set off for another spot, so didn't have the benefits of Chowhound's recommendations as to what to order...
We arrived at about six thirty and were seated promptly. Our service was friendly and reasonably efficient, but the place was filling up as we left, and it seemed that the one server was getting behind dealing with other tables and with the steady stream of take-out orders. Our table by the window was comfortable, but two groups (not together) were seated right next to each other (no more than six inches apart) at a line of tables, even though there was space to give each some room.
Our first dish, from the appetizer menu, was crispy rice cakes with tofu and curry sauce. Didn't keep the menu so can't remember the Thai name. Moreover, I wasn't sure what to expect, but ordered it out of curiousity, thinking it might be something akin to a rice ball salad. Well no, but it was good. What arrived were three or four squares of rice cakes (similar to cakes that one might put into sizzling rice soup) and a bowl of tofu curry. We weren't sure how to eat it (break the squares into the curry? Spool curry over the squares?) but it was quite tasty, probably the highlight of the meal. Curries might well be the way to go here.
Chicken tom yum soup, as Ed says in his post, was nothing special. Hubby thought it was too heavy on the vinegar.
We also had:
ginger chicken, which did have a nice amount of fresh sliced ginger but undercooked vegetables (onion, red bell pepper, and mushrooms)
spicy roast duck: ordered medium on the spice level, it was not particularly heavy on the heat. the duck was nicely done, with crispy skin, but there wasn't much of it, and the dish was also marred by undercooked vegetables (more bell peppers and onions and green beans). I like crunchy vegetables as much as the next person, but these were just a step past raw.
They had sticky rice with mango on the dessert menu, but we decided to pass.
Total for our dinner with three Singha beers and steamed rice with tax but before tip was about $40. Slightly more expensive than Bhan Thai I suspect, but then it is located in a much higher rent district.
Krua Thai is worth checking out for those staying in the downtown area and without a car, but I probably will try and hit Bhan Thai when it is open, before I go back.
Krua Thai Cafe
731 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA 93940
Baan Thai Restaurant
1760 Fremont Blvd Ste F1, Seaside, CA 93955