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Rin’s Thai Noe Valley—Follow-up

veebee | Feb 16, 200608:52 AM

After reading a tip here that Rin’s had changed, I stopped in for a solo dinner last week. The menu is interesting. Kind of all over the map. Hard to get a handle on it. I had the “scrumptious crispy rice salad” $7 and the “dry-fry curry chicken with grilled roti” $9.

The salad was great. It seemed sort of Vietnamese as the crispy stuck bits of rice were served with lettuce leaves for wrapping and fresh cilantro and mint. Texturally, this was great, but the flavors were a little one dimensional (lemony) I found myself craving fish sauce and a measure of spice. Definitely good though.

The curry was not as successful. The chicken itself was silky and tender (in boneless chunks) the sauce was sweet and creamy and coconuty. It tasted good with the bread, but could have used more spice. The roti was great. As good as the flatbread at Burma Super Star. The vegetables with the curry (carrots, peppers, onions) were overly abundant and overcooked. They tasted like mixed frozen veg from a bag.

I was curious about the origins/concept of the menu. I grilled the very nice owner Leanna. She said that she’s been there 20 years (10 as a worker and 10 as an owner). They recently revamped and changed the menu because some of her young nieces and nephews dine out about town and had some ideas. Basically she said they gave the dishes more interesting names that they see about town.

I was trying to figure out if the food was Thai and from different regions than the usual Thai food and I prompted her by saying that the rice dish reminded me of Vietnamese food and the Roti of Burmese food. She replied, “Thai food, Indian Food and Burmese food are all the same. They use the same spices and curries.” Huh?? That was just weird.

In short, I agree with the OP that this is not a destination, but it’s nice to know they are there. They deliver. They are very nice and they are right by my house. Unfortunately, I just can’t really imagine going again with Thai House Express just over the hill. (Even though people here say it’s inferior to the Tenderloin location).

I think Rin’s is expensive for the quality of food, though I agree that it’s better than the other Noe Valley Thai restaurant (can’t even remember the name). The menu is certainly more interesting. I guess if I were sick and Angkor Borai was closed I’d order takeout from there, but there are just too many other good things to eat. It’s too bad. It would be nice if they did well.

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