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Aug 24, 2006 12:09 AM

Thai House Express [San Francisco]

Tried some new dishes, all great. I think the first three were specials.

Fried squid. Perfect, nice young squid, super-tender.

Fried rice with shrimp paste. Waitress asked if we'd had it before, we said no but we know what shrimp paste is and love it. She asks, how spicy, I say, Thai spicy. Yeah, that'll happen. It was great but not terribly spicy.

Pork leg stew noodle soup. Same great flavor, new liquid form.

95. "param Pak crispy tofu with mixed vegetables topped with peanuts sauce": the waitress recommended this when we asked for a dish with lots of veg to balance all the fat and starch. Reads like steam-table Chinese but it was actually great.

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  1. Those squid are my current SF fav. Thanks for the Param Pak rec.

    1. > She asks, how spicy, I say, Thai spicy. Yeah, that'll happen.

      Do you think it would help to say it in Thai?

      Very hot: Phet makh makh

      A little bit hot: Nit-noy phet

      Not hot: Mai phet

      (Not drunk: Mai mao, but that's another story. ;-)

      4 Replies
      1. re: Jefferson

        Actually I just want the cook to make it the way he would for Thai customers, which I think varies from dish to dish.

        The fried rice was great so I have no complaints except that there's noplace that good closer to home.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          You could say that you took a trip to Bangkok and you want the food to be as spicy as you had it there.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            i go here at least once a week as its the only thai in the city that satisfies my cravings. generally the spiciness varies when i order it thai hot, but its always at least at a normal hot level and about half the time they will make it really thai hot level. the only place in town that even approaches what i want in my larb gai.

          2. re: Jefferson

            Actually, it will be better if you say "Phet Nit Noi" for A little bit hot instead of "Nit Noi Phet".

          3. Have you tried their Chan Pad Pu on the special menu? It's almost like Pad Thai except it isn't. It has a different flavor and uses crab meat and slightly spicy. Much better than pad thai.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Problem Child

              Yeah, we've gotten that several times. Excellent dish.

            2. what i want to know is: What is with their new hours?
              the castro location is also closing earlier (1030 on fri/sat???).
              I haven't seen the slightly older guy who usually works the register in a while either. That and the "thai house" on market seems to have completely changed names. anyone know any details about ownership change? where my guy is? he knew me by name, i'd hate to lose that familiarity.

              8 Replies
              1. re: kairo

                Have the hours changed at the one on Larkin? They were hopping when we left around 10:30 Tuesday night.

                I've never been to the Castro location or the Thai House since from all reports they're more Americanized.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I think they (Larkin) are closing midnight most or all days. There's a banner. It's been a month or two. I'll have to try the pork leg stew noodle soup. Thanks for the tip (I usually call in for take out these days).

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    The one in the Castro was super super good last time I got takeout from them. I found it too be comparable if not better than the one in the TL-- not more Americanized at all.

                    1. re: finchycocoa

                      The Castro branch's specials menu is missing some of my favorites, like the catfish larb and shrimp paste fried rice. On the other hand, it has a much better wine list.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        do you know if they will make these dishes on request at the castro branch?

                        1. re: augustiner

                          I, somewhat unfortunately, confirmed that they will/can not make the "missing" dishes from the Larkin st menu at the Castro location.

                          i ordered the yum pla dook foo which is described as a catfish salad. Like robert several years ago i found it to be a bit unbalanced and somewhat underwhelming. a big piece of fried stuff (apparently containing minced catfish) with apples and cashews over cabbage and lettuce with an almost redeeming spicy/cilantro-ey/fish saucy dresing served up on the side.
                          It was ok, but did not come anywhere near larkin street's larb pla.

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          They do have a salted fish fried rice, which is somewhat funky and pretty salty; good, but not fantastic.

                          I tried the Castro branch again last night, and it wasn't super. Twice now, I've had the slightly heavy-set waiter when I've had very average food. This time, when he saw how many chilies I was adding to my (completely devoid of chili) salad, he commented, "wow, you do like spicy.' No crap, sherlock, that's why I explained that I've been to Thailand, like spicy food, and want the spice level and amount of fish sauce to be authentic.

                          Also twice, I've had fantastic food when I had the young waitress who is obviously the daughter of the middle age lady who manages the operation from behind the counter. She's bilingual enough to ask if I really want to order item x, ask if I know what it is, and if I say yes, I love it, and I like it really spicy, she'll give me exactly what I asked for.

                          I'll continue going to the Castro branch because parking/transit is so much easier for me, but I'll probably walk on by to Anchor Oyster bar if I don't see my favorite waitress.

                          I'm pretty certain the variability is all due to the person you have taking your order, because when I peeped into the kitchen, all the cooks looked Thai and were probably the regular crew.

                    2. re: kairo

                      Don't know what's up with the Thai House Express in the Castro, but the old "Thai House" on Market changed hands, and is now "Thai Corner Express" or something like that. New ownership but (I'm told) the same chef. I've been there a few times since the change and think the food is pretty good, but not spicy enough unless you ask for it. The portions are good sized too, I can order a couple of dishes for take-out and get 3 meals out of it (and I'm a big eater.)

                    3. I was not impressed the first time I visit TH. You guys just piqued my interest again. MAybe I picked the wrong location. I think I visitted the location that was not too far away from OSHA Thai.

                      Where is the best location to try it again ?

                      What dishes are the best there ?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Han

                        901 Larkin. Use the search to find many reports on what's good.

                        I'm not sure I've had one dish I wouldn't order again.