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Restaurants & Bars 2

Update on Little Thai, SF

Melanie Wong | Aug 24, 200311:36 PM

A couple months ago I was whining that there were no good Thai places in my neighborhood. Then I remembered Little Thai and started revisiting it with good results. I’ve had lunch there three times, the most recent was after Bauer’s downgrade. I hadn’t notice any of the facility flaws he experienced, and I can tell you that as of my last visit, two weeks ago, in the street level dining area they were either nonexistent to start with or have been corrected. In truth, I’ve never studied the menu, so can’t comment on the spattered condition. Instead I take a look at the specials posted on the walls and make my selection from those. It’s been a winning method for me, as all three lunches were very good.

A dish of Clams with hot chili, lemon grass and basils, $7.95, was stunningly good. The freshest of big juicy bivalves in the shell were sauteed with lemon grass, fresh jalapeños, lemon grass, fresh basil, garlic, and silky fresh mushrooms in a slightly sweetened black bean sauce. Vibrant, complex and beautifully balanced, this dish would knock the indifferent versions I’ve been served in several of our top-rated Hong Kong-style seafood restaurants out of the ring.

Duck noodle lunch soup special, $5.95, turned out to be freshly made wide rice noodles in a slightly greasy yet delicious broth. Somewhat cloudy, it had that deep homemade stock taste and wasn’t oversalted or sweetened. Tender pieces of Cantonese-style roast duck were garnished with fried shallots, fried garlic chips, scallions, fresh spinach, bits of pickled veggies, cilantro, and shredded bamboo shoots. One of the most satisfying bowls of noodles around.

Little Thai pumpkin curry with pork, $7.25, was listed as a red curry but turned out to be yellow. Ordered “hot”, it was laced liberally with dried red chili peppers and fresh jalapeños. The flavorful curry had just a touch of coconut milk to round out the flavor and was only moderately sweet from the natural sugars of the kabocha pumpkin and chunks of zucchini. It could have used a little more acid to lift the heaviness, but was still very flavorful in any case. The thinly sliced pork was chewier than it should have been and had some of that food service pre-fab taste. Real jasmine rice, $1, is served here, and the combination of the two was enough for two lunches for me.

My only disappointment was the Roti with condensed milk, $2.50. My server said it was pan-fried to order. While well-browned, it was soggy on the surface and missing the fresh-griddled perfume and texture.

Service has always been gracious here. I’ve not ordered any of the Thai “standards”, but can say from the kitchen’s performance in preparing these daily specials that it does still care.

Little Thai
2065 Polk St.
(corner of Broadway)
San Francisco
Free delivery with $15 minimum
Lunch: Thu-Sat, 11:30am-3pm
Dinner: Sun-Thu, 4pm –10pm
Fri-Sat, 4pm-10:30pm


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