day thirty: little thai house
June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
If the large arrows that point to each restaurant are any indication, Little Thai House is not to be confused with Asian Noodle House, the identical-looking restaurant right beside it. Though each restaurant has its own identical-looking awning and most likely share a not-only-identical-looking kitchen, they have two different menus and two different pages for Yelp reviews.*
There was something uncharacteristically barren about the experience of walking into Little Thai House. The decor was so plain, the menu so simple, the options so limited — hot bar or bust — that the place felt incomplete, a restaurant start-up. I stepped up to the counter. Nothing looked appetizing. Nothing looked, well, particular Thai either.
Previous anonymous reviewers of Little Thai House had recommended the red chicken curry and, as a vegetarian option, the tofu pad thai. At $4.26 per item, I decided to get the chicken curry for me, the pad thai for my friend. The vegetable pad thai in the hot bar lacked tofu, but I noticed that a few other options contained tofu…could they add some to my friend’s pad thai? The woman at the hot bar (who, incidentally, was wearing a shirt without shoulders that defied logic and gravity) shook her head no, but suggested I could, perhaps, put some of the eggplant tofu stir fry on top of the vegetable pad thai? It was my time to shake my head no.
I brought our Little Thai Boxes back to work and the photography table. Hungry, I feared I had made a mistake by ordering but one entree for $4.26 instead of two for $6.25. The boxes looked more like side orders than a full meal. Amazingly, though, when we dumped them out, they filled the entire plate in a huge heap. (I really should have taken a before and after picture here, but evidently was too ravenous to do so.)
While Little Thai House had given me a tremendous amount of food for $4.26, they gave me little in the way of taste. It wasn’t that it was bad, per se, it just didn’t taste like anything, not even Thai curry. There was no spice whatsoever, just a bland monochromatic creaminess. The potatoes and chicken added equally tasteless texture. I asked my friend, a gentler reviewer than me, how her food was. “Red,” she replied, and tried to explain that this wasn’t a negative thing, just an observation: The noodles and the vegetables in it were all the same shade of red.
In all, Little Thai House serves food that is a weird simulacra of Thai food. It could be best described as Thai food created by someone who had seen Thai food and so had a reasonable sense of what it might contain, but no idea of what it actually tasted like. It was not horrific, but not good, either.
I ran into Little Thai House first, so they were the first to be reviewed; Asian Noodle House, I shall do my due diligence to and visit tomorrow.
* The experience of walking by reminds me very much of Panna I and Panna II in the East Village, sans the hustlers.
Price: Under a five-spot per entree
Location: 202 Dryden Rd, above College Ave