Last week we went to Thai Seafood Cafe, located on East Gate in University City. This is one of four Thai restaurants located in the same area, all owned by the same family or group. Food does vary from restaurant to restaurant, so visiting each is a real experience. Thai Seafood is the best one, in my humble opinion.
The atmosphere at TS is peaceful. There are only about a dozen tables and the paint job is soft oranges and a dark brown, with cream wallpaper. The lighting is dim but pleasant, the floor is a clear gray formica job (but clean) and the booths and chairs are red pleather. Weird little ornamentations decorate the walls.
We were a little nervous when the restaurant was empty and the first choice appetizers were not available (spring roll and satay gai). Instead, we ordered fried spring rolls, which came out wonderfully. The small, narrow spring rolls contained water chestnuts, carrot, onion, and celery. They were deep fried to a fine crispiness and served with a homemade sweet chili sauce. Everyone loved them.
Many of our entree choices were also rejected, as being not available. The #31 Gan Nue Hang ($7.95) was hot red curry cooked in coconut milk with beef pepper, peas and kaffir. It was a marvelous dish, just spicy enough and just creamy enough with the coconut to balance the delicious beef flavors. The green beans were crunchy and the coconut base was smooth - a study in contrasts. #28 Gang Gra Ree ($6.95) was a yellow curry with chicken, potato and onion cooked in coconut milk. This was the table favorite - sweet but not overpowering, an excellent introduction to curry. #44 Goong Pad Khing ($10.95) was shrimp, sliced ginger, mushroom, onion and green onion. The shrimp was great and the mix of coconut milk and ginger was delicately tasty. However, this dish is really heavy on the onions. #45 Goong Pad Ped ($10.95) was red curry stir fried shrimp, green pepper, basil, kaffir, bamboo shoots and green bean. It was ordered very spicy and was excellent that way, but next time, I will order it Thai spicy (one step up on the scale). The gloppy red curry, perfectly cooked vegetables and shrimp were a wonderful combination. Choo choo fried rice was served with onion, tomato, green onion, broccoli, egg and shrimp was a bargain at $6.95. The orderer called it the best fried rice ever - sweet, moist, veggies crisp and the shrimp just right.
We all agreed that these were items that we could not make at home and that the evening was a success. Alcohol selections were limited, with typical box wines and some beer, although they did serve Singha (spelling??), the Thai beer. Prices were reasonable, bathrooms were clean and service was pleasantly unobtrusive. The only real criticism made by the group was that the chairs should have had rubber stoppers on the bottom - every time someone moved, they screeched on the floor. Other than that, I can't wait to return to TS.