Monday, April 2, 2012

Pad Thai

If you've been following my blog, you know I've been in search of a great Thai establishment in the great city of Richmond. I've asked around and gotten a few different answers - no one seems to agree on a good place. That's a sign y'all: there isn't one.

Then one day in physiology somebody suggested a place called Pad Thai. Their description was every foodie's dream: out of the way, near a mechanic's station, small and locally owned. I was super excited to try it.

Pad Thai is out of the way for actuality it's only about 15 minutes away but since you go through many turns and twists along the way it seems like a lot longer. The place is actually much larger than I'd pictured and it was completely full of patrons. The smells coming out of the kitchen were divine: lemongrass, chili, coconut. Nummy Nummy.

Now here's the thing: a lot of the reviews I read had two themes: 1) the food is VERY spicy and 2) the service is not polite. Here's a little mythbuster for you: 1) Yes, it is very spicy! a medium is equal to a spicy 2) We found the service to be excellent. I had a great conversation with the gentleman at the front desk when I placed our takeout order - he helped me decide what level of spice would be best for each dish. And I forgot to ask for my Thai tea in advance but they got it for me no problem.

The Thai tea was unlike any other I've had before - it actually tasted more like tea than sugar which was a refreshing change since excessive sweetness is a problem I've run across a few times. I need to know what makes the tea orange: after looking it up I saw the yellow/orange can be due to crushed tamarind or food coloring. Somehow I think food coloring is a more likely story. Still good once in a while :)

We ordered our two staple dishes: green chicken curry and pad Thai with chicken.

The chicken curry we ordered medium spicy and boy was it! There was a lot of bamboo shoots in it which I love - and full of chicken. It wasn't really fatty either - something I discovered the next day after refrigerating it and not finding that orange gelatinous stuff covering the top. There were no potatoes in their curry (as there is in the Thai place we go to in Ann Arbor) - but every recipe must be different.

The Pad Thai was really wonderful - Weston said it didn't have enough peanut but I liked how they tucked the crushed peanut in the corner. I liked it so much so that I might have eaten a couple spoonfuls before we sprinkled it over top. The addition of fresh bean sprouts and scallions was a nice texture changer and I found the dish overall a little sweeter than I'm used to. I suspect this is the type of place where every time you order the same dish it'll come out a little different, just like when you make it at home, so I'll see what it tastes like next time.

If you haven't been here, I'd say give it a go.

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