If the salad I had here today is any indication of the quality of the whole menu, this is destined to be a winner -- a must-try place.
Open since Monday at the prior Sab-E-Lee location in Linda Vista, they specialize in papaya salads, with a dozen varieties on the (relatively short) menu, plus soups the likes of Yen Ta Fo noodle soup, Super Star Pork Ribs soup, and I-san Style Three Kinds Mushroom Soup. There are numerous other intriguing non-salad menu items as well, like Karom Jean (rice vermicelli served with soup), and “snacks" like fish cake, Thai sausage (Isan or northern style), and fried meat balls.
I ordered the first salad on the long list, at my server’s suggestion: Som Tom Thai, a simple green papaya salad with tomatoes, green beans, peanuts and dried shrimp, etc. It was absolutely delicious, wonderfully fresh, and beautifully presented. It was enough by itself for a satisfying mid-afternoon lunch, and only $7! And as an option, it could have been had with pickled crab, at the same price.
The entire staff of Sab-E-Lee (which is undergoing minor remodeling until Friday) were dining there when I went in, including the owner, and as it happened we had an opportunity to chat a bit. He mentioned that he hadn’t yet received his beer/wine license for the original Sab-E-Lee (now across the street) in the mail, but it’s presumably on the way. Here's looking forward to having a Singha with their food.
Thai Papaya is a different kind of place. It's not Sab-E-Lee, apart from having the same ownership and an obvious team-effort dedication to efficiently serving up high-quality Thai food. Which, actually, is saying a lot.
But that's what makes Thai Papaya seem special, because, in my opinion, Sab-E-Lee is our city's premier Thai restaurant, and this inventive off-shoot is something new for them.
Hence the separate thread.
Looking forward to hearing others' experiences. I wish Thai Papaya Pok-Pok the very best and can’t wait to return to try other things on their menu.