Continuing with our exploration of Tenderloin restaurants, a few colleagues and I just stumbled accross a delightful Thai restaurant on O'Farrell. Perhaps we received special treatment after I flashed the waiter a Chowhound Passport. "Very cool," he remarked, after reading the message written in Thai. Regardless of our status, it is undeniable that flavors are clean and execution of hackneyed classics such as larb na is exemplary.
We tried the following dishes:
Shrimp spring rolls
Stuffed chicken wings
Wide noodles with gravy and beef
BBQ Pork with spicy sauce
Everything was excellent. One particular hit was the curry crab. Past versions of the dish I tried have suffered from being overcooked or a curry sauce that simply overwhelmed the flavor of the meat. In this instance, the sauce was delightfully infused with essence of crab and the meat was cooked to juicy perfection. At only $15 for an enormous dish, I would rate it as one of the best values for crab in the Bay Area. My only regret is that I was too full to sop up the rest of the sauce with some sticky rice.
Other hits were the BBQ pork (the waiter's first suggestion) and the larb na. The dessert roti, which one of my peers compared to a Chinese scallion pancake without the scallions and with a lot of sugar, is also very tasty (and a surprisingly generous portion).
I can't wait to go back and try some more dishes from an extremely lengthy and varied menu.
SAI JAI Thai Restaurant
771 O'Farrell St.