After seeing some articles about Tsunami's new Baan Thai menu, I finally went to check it out last night. My initial impression: exceptionally legit menu, and excellent execution. I actually think some of the food would give Doi Moi a run, at 50-65% the cost. Some might be better. There were a few misses, however, too.
Three of us ordered 4 small plates and 2 mains.
Crispy rice cakes with chicken and shrimp - Khao dtung naa túng
-- Outstanding dish. Would easily order this again. Perfect balance of sweet, spicy, crunchy. I highly recommend this order.
Green mango salad - Yum má-mûuang
-- Also an outstanding dish. Just the right spice level, in my view. Terrifically enjoyable, and better than what I recall at Doi Moi. A generous portion.
Chicken stuffed in a tapioca skin - Saa-kuu sâi gài
-- This too is a must repeat. Six tapioca chicken balls to the order. The texture is fantastic, and a really delightful dish.
Grilled lemongrass shrimp - Goong yâang dta’krái
-- This was entirely skip-able. Four small shrimp, well cooked, but nothing interesting. There is too much other good stuff on the menu, in my view, to get bogged down here.
Guuai-dtiiao tom yum moo dang gài sup -- Tom yum noodle soup with roasted pork & ground chicken
-- This was an excellent dish, and certainly an entree serving. A large amount of pork and chicken, pork rinds for crunch, a delicious soup. The noodles weren't the most exciting, but everything else about this dish was a complete win.
Beef curry noodles - Guuai dtiiao kehk núua
-- DO NOT ORDER. We asked the server about this, he gave it a polite "meh" and pointed to other dishes. We ordered it anyway -- mistake! Although the broth and noodles were delicious, the beef itself was stew meat that certainly had not been stewed to an edible point. Not at all good.
-- That said, and in a sign showing that this chef is not pulling any punches, the broth was loaded with tripe. This was a very welcome surprise, given that tripe was not so much as mentioned on the menu!
In short, for those going, I have two main take aways from my experience:
1) Although generally true, listen to the waiter! He steered us away from the one mistake order and didn't warmly recommend the shrimp either. Our other orders--which he strongly encouraged--were fantastic.
2) Perhaps it was just the dish we ordered, but the beef used was sinewy, fatty stew meat, and not in an application where stew meat was appropriate. Most of it was inedible. It's possible we just got a bad plate or ordered a bad dish. But while I'll certainly be going back, and soon, I'll be avoiding beef dishes in the future.