Albany Bowl Thai - To Be Avoided
- Kathleen Mikulis
I went to the Thai restaurant/coffee shop at Albany Bowl last week at the recommendation of some of the posters on Chowhound (a thread from about a month ago). I don't want to hurt any feelings by saying this, but it was possibly the worst Thai food I've ever had (with the exception of the inappropriately named Satay House at Durant Square in Berkeley - if you see this place run in the other direction, their satay is downright scary). I'm mentioning this because I don't want to see other people make the mistake of going there.
I ordered the chicken satay and an order of the chicken with ginger - gai pad khing I believe. We just sort of picked at the chicken with ginger. There was a big pool of oil under the food and it just wasn't tasty at all. We fared slightly better with the recommended satay, although the chicken was slightly tough from being burnt. However, the peanut sauce that arrived was already emulsified, and tasted like I was eating grease - not peanuts. To be honest, almost all satay I've had at other East Bay restaurants has been better.
We were served by a woman of perhaps 75 who was very slow at serving us. I waited about 15 minutes for water at one point. The place was packed and we almost had to get our meal to go and sit in the bowling alley. I would have given our server the benefit of the doubt except that she was very cold to us as well.
In conclusion, I definitely recommend avoiding the Thai food at Albany Bowl. While eating there I counted about 25 places in the East Bay I'd been to that had better Thai food. I would highly recommend these instead:
Ruen Pair (in Albany - my new favorite)
Cha Am (in Berkeley - wonderful soup)
Siam Orchid (in Orinda)
Nakapan (in Berkeley - I've never heard anyone mention, but it's very good)