Took my wife for dinner last night with the hope that the new owners learned well from the lessons they got from Catherine and her family (the former owners).
A moment of silence please as the honor guard prepares the 21-gun salute...
My tiny little mind wants my Tom Yum Gung to have lemon grass, fish sauce, galanga, kaffir leaves, some tomato, lime juice, a good stout chili paste, some fresh chilis, some straw mushrooms, shrimp, a chicken stock or vegetable stock base.
I got a water-based soup with carrots, NO lemon grass, NO galanga, NO kaffir, No tomato, NO chili paste, No fresh chilis, NO fish sauce. It tasted utterly of water and shrimp. It may have been (naw, defintely was) the WORST Tom Yum Gung I have ever eaten, and I have eaten some very bad soup in these towns. The Tom Yum served by the previous owners was a highlight of their menu and a joy to eat.
The spring rolls were served with the noc mam sauce served in vietnamese shops with their FRIED rolls. Thai spring rolls are generally served with a plum sauce of some variety. When we asked if we could have the correct sauce for the spring rolls, we were brought peanut sauce.
The Beef Panang had the right ingredients, but was pasty (too many peanuts and the peanut pieces were too big (huge even). The dish was acceptable but utterly bland, a far cry from its prior self under the old owners.
Many (most) of the truly excellent authentic Thai dishes on the Krua Thai menu have now been removed. No more Gaeng Ba (a no-coconut curry affectionately known in English as Jungle Curry), no more Tod Mun Pla (fried fish cakes). I could go on endlessly but I won't.
So we're down to Chai's Thai. And Pongsri in New York when we go.