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Friday, March 18, 2011

Dining Out: Thai in Japantown

When it comes to Thai food, I'm one of the pickiest eaters out there. If it doesn't taste as good as my home cooked Thai food, I'll immediately pan a restaurant and never go back.

My standard dishes for evaluating a new Thai restaurant are typically one or two of the following dishes:
  • Tom Yam Gai: Spicy and sour soup with chicken, lemongrass, fresh mushrooms, galanga, kaffir leaves, and Thai chilies.
  • Pad Prik Khing: Sauteed meat with green bean, kaffir leaves, and red chilies sauce.
  • Gaeng Keaw Wan (Green Curry): Spicy green curry, coconut milk, eggplants, and green beans.
In late January, we joined two of our friends in Japantown for a Thai dinner. (I'd been attending a conference at the Hotel Kabuki and had eaten Japanese fare earlier in the day.)

cubes and I started with Ginger Shrimp Rolls. (You know me, I love fried foods.) The shrimp inside the fried wrapper was nicely steamed and not overcooked. The dipping sauce was light, not cloying sweet, and balanced the shrimp nicely.
Ginger Shrimp Roll
Ginger Shrimp Rolls

I usually go for the soup, but I was torn when I saw Tiger Cry on their menu. It's a beef salad that has this spicy mint dressing that I can't get enough of. In the end, I ordered the Tiger Cry and was not disappointed.
Crying Tiger (Beef Salad)
Crying Tiger

Portion sizes are definitely family style. The Tiger Cry was too much for me to eat by myself. (I took maybe half of it home to eat for lunch the next day.)

By the time the Pad Pring Khing arrived, I was pretty stuffed. It had been so long since I'd had Tiger Cry that I had overindulged a little. The string beans were cooked perfectly with a little snap to them. I was surprised not to find shredded ginger in the dish, but the sauce was flavorful without it.
Pad Pring Khing
Pad Pring Khing

Jitlada definitely exceeded my expectations, and we'll be visiting again. I'm trying the Green Curry next time!

What are your favorite Thai haunts in the city? 
Do you have favorite dishes you use to "evaluate" them?

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