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Twisted Noodle open in Durham

Ate at Twisted Noodle for lunch today. I had soup (Tom Yum Kia Num Prik Paw to be exact) for 6.95. It was a nice big bowl with noodles, chicken and bean sprouts and a slightly sour broth. My husband had spicy garlic basil chicken--small chunks of chicken in a light sauce. It came with a very large bowl of rice. I liked the covered bowl the rice was served in. My husband would have like a few vegetable mixed in with the chicken, but he thought the flavor was very good. If you like things hot, you will need to ask them to push things up a notch. Ours were both supposed to be spicy dishes, but we found them to be only slightly above mild.

The only negative was that it took quite a while to get our meal. Our waitress said they had pushed the "grand opening" back a couple of times until they get all the kinks worked out, so if you have a limited lunch hour you may want to wait a bit before you try it out.

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  1. Last weekend we ordered takeout from Twisted Noodle the owner was actually concerned that a Chowhound post could bring in too many people before they were ready, so i held back. He was honest with us and told us it would take a while, but it took much, much too long. They truly aren't ready for their grand opening yet, but I have to say, when we finally got the food, it was very good, in my opinion better than Thai Cafe. I can't remember everything we got - we ordered a lot - the squid salad was amazing, the pad thai only average, but i think pad thai is one of those things best ordered eat-in. chicken larb (?) super delicious. we also had a vegetable stir fry that was fresh and delicious - better than any veggie stir fry i've had in a restaurant stateside, coconut chicken soup - yummy - miles better than thai cafe tom yam, which i find to be particularly bad (thai cafe does have some good stuff, but it's not the tom yam) masaman beef had a great flavor but wasn't as tender as i would have liked. i think the last dish was a green curry with shrimp, which was excellent. once they get their timing together and their kitchen staffed properly, this will be an excellent addition to the durham dining scene. the owner is super friendly and knows what the kinks are that he needs to work out.

    2 Replies
      1. re: suse

        I have to agree with Suse. Twisted Noodle is not ready for crowds. We were in the restaurant almost an hour from our arrival to getting out check and we only ordered two items. Two gentlemen next to us left without ever ordering. Just bear that in mind if you decide to pay a visit. I am looking forward to my next visit, but will wait a while to make it.

      2. http://twistednoodles.com/

        4201 University Drive #112
        Durham, NC 27707

        1. A friend and I went there Saturday night for dinnner. We had the beef satay, Tom Yum soup with shrimp, shrimp pad thai and a vegetable stir fry with beef. The Tom Yum soup was a huge portion - more than enough for 2 - and plenty spicy (a little too spicy for my friend) - very good. The pad thai was okay - along the lines of the Thai Cafe - but several dollars cheaper. We also had the Thai beer they sell (don't remember the name but was good).

          My only complaint was that we got the soup followed almost immediately by the entrees and then the beef satay. By the time we got around to eating the vegies with beef it was almost cold.

          All in all - we enjoyed the meal very much and will return.

          1. I took the family for dinner last Firday night. We arrived at 6PM to a half full restaurant. We ordered Twisted Sring rolls as an app and they are the best spring rolls I've ever had. They were chock full of veg and meat. For dinner, we ordered pad thai, pad see eew, panang curry with shrimp and squid, and chargrilled chicken. The pad thai was not very good. it had a odd red color, overly sweet-- just not interesting at all. The pad see eew was a totally opposite experience. The rice noodles was so tender it practically melted in your mouth, the beef was perfectly cooked (tender), and the chinese broccoli provided a wonderful crunch. The panang curry was fine but Thai Palace is better. While we were waiting a horde (15?) of Thai students from Duke came in and, understandably, the smooth operation they had going went to hell. We received our chicken dish well after our other three dishes. It had a mild smokey flavor that was nice but should have come with a side of peanut sauce IMO. The diners next to us wanted to order anoher dish after their initial entrees arrived but the owner told then that it was too late. But I'm not going to hold these things against them. Fifteen diners coming in en masse would screw up anybody's opening.

            I returned with colleagues for lunch today. I had the massaman curry. It was good but tasted very much like the panang curry with potatoes added. One of my colleagues ordered the spicy noodle soup and a gigantic bowl of soup arrived. I had a bite and enjoyed its spiciness.

            I wouldn't say that Twisted Noodle is any better or worse than Thai Cafe, Thai Palace, or Thai Villa. However, their prices are way cheaper than the other three. Most of the curries, noodle dishes, and soups are $6.95!

            1. We went on Saturday night to get dinner and we are always happy to find a new Thai place that has opened up (we're from the Northwest, where there is a plethora of Thai food). I read the early report and knew it might be a bit slow on the service side. After some initial confusion when we first walked in, we were seated and then ordered up a good sized dinner between us (spring rolls, drunken noodles with chicken, coconut milk marinated chicken, and one of the fried rices with pork). I also had a Thai Iced Tea which was pretty good.

              It took a little bit of time to order, though we did expect this. However, all of the food came out at exactly the same time, so we didn't get to enjoy the spring rolls as an appetizer as we would have liked before the rest of the meal. They were very enjoyable, though, and thankfully they used chicken instead of shrimp in them (my girlfriend won't eat shrimp).

              The coconut chicken was somewhat of a disappointment. The marinade didn't really lend enough of a flavor to the chicken compared to what I expected, and however it was cooked made the chicken a little dryer and tougher than I would have liked. The next day we used the leftovers to make some good friend rice, though.

              The drunken noodles were good, nothing bad to say about them. It was the one entree we managed to totally finish off at dinner. The fried rice was good, but very peppery, and we didn't really expect that from the description. This was compounded by the fact that we hadn't had our water refilled in over 30 minutes at this point, since they really could use another server or two at the restaurant. Other than the pepper issue, it was very tasty as well.

              Overall, the service at the restaurant was pretty bad. They need another server, and a busboy to deal with dishes, but the food was pretty good and cheap overall. We might wait for a month or two for them to work out the quirks, but we will go back when we want some Thai food for a reasonable price.

              1. Went to Twisted Noodles on Thursday night. Got there around 6:30ish, there were maybe four other tables seated. Lovely inside, I really like how they've decorated the place. We were tended to promptly--got menus right away and drink orders were taken promptly. The servers were very friendly as well.

                We had the battered tofu and veggie appetizer (called something like "vegan delight") and it was wonderful: a nice light batter around pieces of tofu and fry-cut sweet potatoes with a delicious dipping sauce. An excellent appetizer and the best dish of the night (in my opinion). For the entree, I had the pad see eww and my husband had the prig king. The pad see eww was your basic pad see eww--pretty standard, with wide noodles and chinese broccoli in a soy sauce-based sauce. It was good, but I don't really know how that dish could 'wow' at all. My husband's prig king was green beans and tofu (either dish can be ordered with your favorite protein) in a very flavorful and fragrant red sauce. He really enjoyed his entree a great deal.

                By the time we were finished, the restaurant had filled up, including one group of 14 people that predictably slowed things down somewhat. It did take them awhile to take away the empty dishes, and we never did get water or condiments (neither were needed, so it didn't matter).
                We will certainly make this one of our regular restaurants--great prices (if somewhat smaller portion sizes) and great food. A welcome addition to the area!

                1. Myself and a friend went to TN last night. For starters, we had the spring rolls, which were really excellent. The sweet chili sauce that came with them was great. I had the pad se eww with beef for my main course. It was very good. I loved the noodles: big, wide with a lovely soft and slightly chewy texture.

                  They were out of the Thai 'creme brulee', so I had rambutans in syrup for desert. Nothing special, but a nice finish to a good meal.

                  My friend had the yellow curry with chicken, which was also yummy. My only complaint was that the serving of pad see eww was a little on the small side. Can't moan too much, as it was only $7.95. Our bill came to around $28.50 plus tip.

                  The service was fine and pretty prompt, though the main courses came out about 2 min after the starters. Another 5 min woud have been better.

                  I'll be back. While it wasn't the best Thai I've ever had, it was better than Thai Cafe and a heck of a lot cheaper.

                  By the way, there's a lovely small Indian minimarket next door. Very much worth checking if you're in the area.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: termite

                    I second the comment on the sweet chili sauce - I could get addicted. The char-grilled coconut chicken I had there was outstanding. I was surprised, though, that none of the dishes came with rice; we had to order it as a side.

                  2. This thread is making me hungry...

                    I've been to Twisted Noodle twice now in the past two weeks, and the food has been excellent. I've had the Drunken Noodles as well as chili with basil -- both with chicken. Definitely my favorite thai so far in the durham/chapel hill area; I've been hoping for a place like this to come around for a long time!

                    I do have to put a caveat in about the service though. It was very, very slow both times we were there. Waited forever to have our order taken and to have the food brought out. In addition, both times, my meal was served at least 5 minutes before my husband's. The timing and pacing was just really odd. Hopefully they will get these bugs worked out - I'll still keep going back though for the quality of the food....

                    1. I just got back from having lunch there. My verdict? It's so-so. I had the veggie stir fry w/calamari and the thai beef jerky appetizer. My friend had the chicken larb. We got there around 11:15 to beat any kind of spotty service from the lunch rush. The portions were very small. Mind you, we got the dinner size portion and not the lunch special. my stir fry was lukewarm and the sauce was okay--not bad but not great. The thai beef jerky came AFTER the entrees which I found odd b/c it took about 20 minutes for our entrees to arrive and we were the only diners at the time. My friend said her larb was okay. The jerky wasn't very exciting. It just seemed like slices of beef that had been sauteed too long.

                      Would I go there again? Maybe to try the noodle or a curry dish. I was definitely a bit disappointed w/the meal.

                      1. Wife and I stopped in TN tonight. Got the fried tofu app - Just OK, but also just $4. Well fried (not greasy), but I won't be craving it. I had the Drunken Noodles. Seems very similar to Cary's Thai Villa's 'Thai Villa Noodles' dish. Since that is all I order every time I've been to Thai Villa for the last 6 years, I have a strong basis for comparison. I like Thai Villa's version better (more carmalized, less lo-mein like greasyness, and spicy), but TN has it's upside (more veggies). I guess that's an upside...

                        Wife had he better dish of the Penang Curry. I'm never that into currys, but this was really good. Spooning it on the Drunken Noodles helped them out a lot. Perfect spice for my wuss of a wife (she said I could say that...) Overall, beats the Thai Cafe in my book, but I wouldn't drive out of my way to get there.

                        1. Twisted Noodle has gone downhill somewhat in my estimation since I started going there. Prices have increased by $2 on the entrees, and portions have gotten smaller.

                          What used to be a very reasonable $6.95 for pad see ew or lad nah is now $8.95, which is a bit expensive for that dish.

                          Also, I've noticed a lot of flies buzzing around the kitchen area and restaurant in general as of late. I walked out last time because I find that quite unappetizing.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mikeh

                            Definitely more hit or miss. They used to have plump fried spring rolls with lots of ground pork but the last time there we were given anorexic rolls with hardly any pork inside and they were overfried. The drunken noodle was okay, better than their pad thai (one of the worst I've ever had) but not as good as their pad see ew (very good). Their panang shrimp is still awesome.

                            1. re: mikeh

                              I really like their red curry and noticed on a visit a couple weeks ago that the portion size seemed to have gotten smaller. I went again yesterday, though, and the portion was back up.

                              They've also instituted a minimum charge of $15 for credit/debit. I get the reason behind it, but I think it's shortsighted -- that policy has kept me from visiting on several occasions when I wasn't carrying cash.

                            2. Went again last night. The spring rolls were as good as always.

                              I had the deep-fried catfish in sweet chili sauce. Highly recommended (pretty spicy though, in case there are any heat-o-phobes around). There is an option for the same with salmon, which seems like a strange thing to deep-fry.

                              I tend to agree as to the concern on the rising prices. However, I still think that TN is far better than Thai Cafe and is still a touch on the cheaper side.

                              By the way, they have a bunch of soft-shelled crab dishes on special now. A little pricey at $16.95, but might be worth it. If anyone gets a chance to check them out, please report back.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: termite

                                I've fallen in love with TN again over the past week or so. There's definitely been a substantial uptick in quality to match the rising prices. Being half-Thai, I can attest that they are approaching authentic home-cooked quality, something that 95% of Thai restaurants fail at doing.

                                1. re: termite

                                  Went for the first time last night, and tried the soft-shelled crab. Crispy and good, though with the price, not sure how good the value is or how often I would do it again. Because of the richness and some saltiness, I probably would appreciate it more as an appetizer shared with a few people. I got it (three battered and fried crabs on a bed of steamed broccoli and some other vegetables) in the garlic black pepper sauce, though I wonder if one of the curries would have been better. Overall, no complaints here, and I'm looking forward to trying other things on the menu.

                                2. I ate at Twisted Noodle(s) a few weeks back and while I was fairly impressed with the food, I wasn't happy with the service, and frankly the room is horrible.

                                  My party of three ordered Laab, fried calamari, and Chicken Satay for the less adventurous among us. The Laab was tasty - though I think that one of us was expecting "Crying Tiger" instead of the mound of wonderfully spicy tender ground meat, cilantro, and peppers we had. The calamari wasn't memorable. Literally. I have absolutely no recollection of it at all. The same holds true for the Satay (though to be fare, I expect is was devoured by our intern/diner companion before I had a chance at it) My major complain about our first course was that we had to ask twice before our drink order was delivered - after our first course arrived. Spicy as the Laab was, I really wanted that Singha.

                                  For the main course, one of my companions ordered a panag chicken curry that was fairly tasty, the other, a "Thai Chili and Basil" seemed like an introductory dish for a locale that had never been exposed to south east Asian cuisine. I had something called "Volcano Chicken" which was a coconut milk marinated half bird served on a sizzle plate. It resembled a decent Tandoori preparation - but substituting coconut milk and maybe lemongrass for the yogurt marinade used in Tandoor.

                                  All in all, passable food, poor service. My second visit - or rather attempt at a visit - ended quickly when the only table offered us in the near empty restaurant faced directly into the blindingly bright setting sun. When I asked the host to move us to another table, his suggestion was that I move around the side of the table. I moved - the sun was still intolerably bright. When we again asked to move to another of the many empty tops that weren't situated in the absurdly bright ray streaming in through the glass front doors the host seemed reluctant and confused. We left, and I'm not sure we'll go back.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: drawn

                                    While I concede that service at times can be maddeningly awful, and I have indeed vowed to never go back from time to time, the quality of the food there continues to win me back. Yes the "Thai Chili and Basil" is a simple dish, but being of Thai descent, I can vouch for its authenticity. Frankly, I haven't encountered many Thai restaurants in the entire country that prepare it as perfectly to the Thai tongue as Twisted Noodles does.

                                    One of the things I like most about this place is that they never skimp on the quality of the meats that they use. They are always fresh, tender, and moist. Honestly, 99% of Thai restaurants I encounter use absolute junk for meat - try Thai Cafe in Durham, for example. So yes, I'll gladly sit 10 minutes waiting for a takeout order that I can clearly see is sitting on the counter already bagged and ready to go. Yes I'll deal with one of the servers whose English is clearly minimal and thus acts confused at times, such as handing me a menu AFTER I've already told him that I called in my takeout order. Yes, I'll continue ordering takeout instead of sit-down there to avoid the lapses in service and the minimalist decor. Being Thai but without a Thai mother around to prepare home-cooked meals anymore, I'll nearly sell my soul to the devil to eat at what is only the third Thai restaurant I've found in the entire country (the other two being in Atlanta and Anchorage, AK) that present Thai dishes the way they should taste.

                                    1. re: mikeh

                                      Wow, that's some kind of endorsement. I'll have to give it another shot. I love Thai food, but the last time we went everything was so crazy slow it was unreal and I'm not even that fussy about service.

                                      1. re: suse

                                        I've never actually had the patience to do a non-takeout meal there, and the reviews of the service don't compel me to change this strategy. I certainly hope they keep up the good run of quality they've had for the past month or so. I remember that they were really good when they first opened, and then became pretty awful during the spring and the first part of summer, especially when it came to portion sizes, but also execution. It seems like they've hit another stride again, and portions seem to be catching up with the increased prices. Hopefully this groove continues.

                                        1. re: mikeh

                                          Thanks mikeh! Because of your posts on this thread, Thursday I had thai chili & basil chicken for lunch and Friday night DH and I had pad thai, red curry, and pork laab for dinner. Everything was delicious and plentiful. Glad I gave them another try.

                                      2. re: mikeh

                                        Actually I'm surprised to read that you thought they used quality meat! I went there for lunch on Tuesday, got the penang curry with chicken. Flavorful yes. But they seemed to have given me curried gristle. It was absolutely disgusting, I've never had such gristly meat in a restaurant. I would never eat there again due to this. It was almost as if they cut off the gristle and then gave me the wrong piece. Also, the waiter was a nice kid but didn't understand a word of English, so I couldn't find out from him what was in the soup of the day. Worst Thai I've ever had.

                                        Also I have to note: they have a sign hanging up they they have a minimum $15 charge for credit card orders, which I believe is illegal?

                                        1. re: NCbarb

                                          It's not "illegal" in the true sense of the definition, but you're correct about it being prohibited vis-a-vis the agreement they have with the credit card vendor. See here: http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/c...

                                          I have half a mind to report them because many times, the reason that merchants charge minimum credit card fees is so that they don't have to ring the cash register when people pay in cold hard cash, and thus report a lower revenue to the IRS to escape on taxes. Not directly accusing Twisted Noodles here, but I know many people in the Thai restaurant business, and they are notorious for doing this. Actually, I've once noticed Twisted Noodles has a separate drawer, not attached to any cash register machine, where they kept cash. Weird and suspicious. When you think about it, credit cards typically charge 2% + 10 cents on all transactions. So even on a seemingly paltry purchase of $5, they're only paying 20 cents of transaction fee. Smells fishy for sure.

                                          Anyway, sorry to hear you got disgusting meat there; fortunately I've never in two dozen times encountered anything that wasn't top quality.

                                          Newsobserver reviewed them this week, http://www.newsobserver.com/1132/stor..., and apparently they changed chefs this week. That may be the reason why your experience there on Tuesday was not up to snuff. Considering the very few times I've found Thai food done right in the entire country (and I always make it a point to search high and low), I'm extremely concerned.

                                          1. re: mikeh

                                            One of the local coffee shops in my hometown that my mom frequents has told my mom that they pay $0.50 per transaction. I think your 2% + 10 cents might be for very high volume, much higher than a local independent restaurant might routinely experience.

                                            Not that I think the ducking the IRS part should be condoned, but I think the credit card processing fees are pretty hefty for a small business, and if you're trying to support your small business, not using your credit card on small purchase is an excellent way to give them a hand.

                                            But, ew, I hope they're not really being shady with separate cash drawers and whatnot.

                                            Finally, NCBarb - did you not send the dish back? I can't imagine not doing so in those circumstances.

                                            1. re: abowes

                                              I thought of sending it back, but the waiter didn't understand me when I asked him what was in the soup of the day - so I didn't bother. I don't like to send food back in general because you never know what's going to happen to it back there. It was a lunch special, so I just cut my losses. :-/

                                              1. re: abowes

                                                Mikeh is correct. For example, they could join Costco and have Costco process their credit card transactions. Costco charges 1.64% + 20 cents regardless of volume.

                                      3. I had dinner there last night and thought it was ok. My friend had the drunken noodles, which was good, I had Pad see eww and it was pretty bland. Not terrible, and I would probably go back after hearing wonderful reviews, but I will definitely have something different. It is a good thing that the reviews are so good because with my bland food and sloooow service(I wasn't timing but it took forever just to come over and get our drink orders), I normally would not go back.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Fromageball

                                          Yeah, I could've recommended against the pad see ew. It's one of the few things I've had there that's really not up to par.

                                        2. DH and I had lunch here last month during a visit to the Triangle. After reading here about the slow service, we were prepared for a long wait. Well, it took some time for a waiter to take our order, but the food came relatively quickly. This was a Saturday. DH had Drunken Noodles...I'd give it "average". I had tofu in spicy chili basil sauce. Very good, although not very spicy despite requesting that when ordering. However, given the subjectiveness of "spicy", I really can't fault the restaurant. Also had an order of Summer rolls, which were also good. Next time we're in Durham, we'll probably try it again.

                                          1. It is with great sadness that I have to report how terribly downhill things have gone at Twisted Noodles. I have been a big fan of theirs ever since they opened, and though the services was never good, the food was pretty uniformly excellent. I would often order takeout from them at least once or twice per week. For the past several months, however, the quality of the food has been awful. For example, the last couple of times I ordered the ground chicken larb, the chicken was not ground, but was just the same boiled sliced chicken that they use in their soups. There was no rice powder, so the sauce was just liquid, and no kaffir lime leaf, so it did not have the distinctive flavor that it usually has. They generally seem to be using lower quality ingredients, like coconut milk that is not as thick and rich. Furthermore, they have messed up my order the last several times that I have gotten takeout, a mistake I don't usually notice until I get home. They have also been completely unable to modulate the hotness. I like my food very spicy, but I order some items mild for my 3 year old. The last several times I have ordered, however, all of the food has come out spicy, and my kid has been totally unable to eat it. Not that he doesn't try, but it makes him tear up and turn bright red and then he pitifully says, "I'm sorry, I want to like it but I can't." I sent an email to the address listed on the website, and I got no response. I have also noticed that the owner, who is usually in the front of the house, has not been there for several months. I tried asking what happened to him, and I did not get a straightforward answer. In any case, this all makes me terribly sad, because TN was previously one of my favorite restos in Durham.

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: durhamois

                                              I have not had the same experience. We were there for lunch just last week and shared a tom kha gai soup to start followed by crispy drunken noodle with pork for me and pad tai with fried tofu for my wife. The porkw as a bit tough because the pork was so lean but the cristy noddles were outstanding, and my wife's padtasi was great as usual.

                                              1. re: durhamois

                                                I too believe it has gone downhill markedly since opening but that it still beats out many other Thai places I've tried in the area.

                                                However, my heart has been won over by a tiny place in the Virginia mountains called Thai Siam Takeout in Arrington, VA. Everyone I know who has eaten there has proclaimed it one of the best in the entire country; the quality rivals the authenticity you'd find in Bangkok. Most of the ingredients she uses comes from her own garden or from local farms. The quality is top-notch, and the recipes are from the upper echelon of Thai class. Entrees are a STEAL at $5.95 - 6.95. Go there and you'll never want to eat in any other Thai restaurant ever again - that's fair warning if you can't go on a regular bias. I usually commute to D.C. via hwy 29 and my cohorts up there always compel me to do a huge takeout operation via Thai Siam. The owner crates the stuff up in boxes for me and we end up having enough for lunch parties days on end.

                                                  1. re: bbqme

                                                    nope - Arrington, VA. It's a tiny hamlet up in the Virginia foothills in the middle of nowhere about halfway between Lynchburg and Charlottesville. You might also search Colleen, VA on the maps for a placement even though the mailing address is Arrington.

                                                    1. re: mikeh

                                                      You need to talk them into moving down here and opening a place.

                                                      1. re: bbqme

                                                        I think one fundamental reason why the restaurant is so good is that the owner did not open it for the explicit financial need to run a restaurant. Instead, her two brilliant children went off to college and she was left with a nice homestead up there in the beautiful wilderness and too much time on her hands. One of her children said, "you cook so well...why don't you open up a restaurant?" So she did - a brisk takeout business plus three or four tables inside and a small outdoor patio. This is a labor of love for her. Her overhead and costs are extremely low - what she is basically doing is opening up her personal kitchen to the lucky souls who make it by that area. The number of people who drive 80 miles roundrip from Charlottesville to do takeout from there (her kitchen routinely "books out" for dinner since she makes everything from scratch and only has so much time) when there are six or seven Thai restaurants in C'Ville on the level of Twisted Noodles or Thai Cafe just goes to show what a gem this place is.

                                                        1. re: mikeh

                                                          Oh! I know where Colleen is - near Lovingston and Shipman. :-) I haven't been in a while, though. Is this place right on 29?

                                                          1. re: JoanInNC

                                                            Exactly! It's about 5 minutes south of Lovingston. It's not right on 29. You have to go west on highway 58 toward Piney River for a mile or so, give or take. It's on the right side right off the street in a small white building next to an antique store. If you're driving too quickly you'll miss it but for all the Charlottesville cars crowding the circular drive.

                                                            1. re: mikeh

                                                              I went to Thai Siam on your recommendation and it was absolutely phenomenal. I could not pretend to know Thai food as well as you do but I appreciate high spice levels and love Thai food. The owner is so nice and friendly; we went on a Monday when it is normally closed but she opened up specifically for a regular customer who was coming through and wanted a large takeout order. She was so nice to let us sit down, being the only ones there after they left with their takeout, and enjoy their delicious food.

                                                              I have eaten at Sripraphai, which is pretty consistently considered the best and most authentic Thai restaurant in NYC. I love Sripraphai, but Thai Siam in Arrington, Va was better. The Pad Thai was sort of an authenticity test; even here it was a bit sweet, but there were so many more layers of flavor in the dish and seasonings than anywhere else. Drunken Noodles were phenomenal; we asked for this to be especially spicy and it was, in addition to being delicious. Last, the Green Curry was simply phenomenal.

                                                              If you live anywhere near Thai Siam, or if you don't, go there now. Just please don't crowd her restaurant or spread this secret too much, because the owner likes her peace and quiet. And be nice, because she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met.

                                                1. re: durhamois

                                                  UPDATE: I sent a second email to them this afternoon, and this time the owner got back to me. He said he has been out of town for a couple of months, and there was some staff turnover while he was gone. He is supposed to be back by the end of this week. He appeared to take these issues seriously, and I hope things will get better once he is back.

                                                  1. re: durhamois

                                                    The owner returned to town, and I have had since had two consecutive good meals there. Tonight the Larb was really fantastic. I would venture to say that Twisted Noodles is back!

                                                2. God, Twisted Noodles is absolutely addictive. My husband and I just moved to Durham a month ago, and already we're been there five times. It is currently the place I always want to go when I go out, same for my husband. Probably one of my top 10 favorite restaurants ever. We find that the best thing to do is order the noodle soups, which are their specialty, and skip all the stereotypical dishes. And we down the fresh-brewed Thai Iced Tea. My two favorite dishes are the Yellow Curry Noodle Soup, which I occasionally dream about, and the Chili Oil Noodle Soup. I always make sure to ask for rice noodles instead of egg noodles, just because I like rice noodles better. They always accommodate me no matter who the waiter is. I also always ask for the tofu. My husband's favorite two dishes are the Roasted Duck Noodle Soup and the Tom Kha (sp?) Gai Noodle Soup. We also love these things "summer style," which means without the soup part.
                                                  We've gone when it's crowded and when it's not and the service is always good (but not overly-friendly). I find the decor soothing and attractive: big posters of Thailand, an aquarium, and a statue of the fat happy Buddha. The bathroom is clean.
                                                  I read somewhere that this is authentic Thai food. Well, I've been to a lot of Thai restaurants in New Haven, CT, which is supposed to have really good authentic Thai, and I never saw anything like the food at Twisted Noodle. Too bad for those others—I can't understand what I saw in them anymore.
                                                  Just think about how comforting a nice big bowl of chicken noodle soup is, or a nice steaming bowl of soba or udon soup. Now ramp up the flavor, the color, and the silky smooth fat content, add fresh herbs and a bit of crunch and a hint of heat (or a lot of heat, depending on your taste) and turn the noodles into a huge seething mass of silky white rice noodles. You see what I mean.
                                                  We've had the nice crispy spring rolls too, which were perfectly satisfying and the right size portion, but I would hardly call them a main attraction. We are always way too stuffed for dessert. I cannot believe these luscious bowls of soup cost only about $9, but that is the right price because I can convince myself that I can afford it more frequently than I probably should.
                                                  In case you think we are coming out of left field, I will let you know other restaurants we really enjoyed in Durham: Los Comales, Rue Cler, Elmo's Diner. But we haven't returned to any of them, although we don't live anywhere near Twisted Noodle. Think about that.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Sarah D

                                                    Sarah, I agree about Twisted Noodles being addictive. We were just there the other night and what I love about it is that it has a nice vibe and the food is really fresh. Luckily, we're close by. You might want to check out a newish restaurant on Roxboro (not sure where you live) for comforting soup with rice noodles: Saigon Grill. The price is about the same, the dining room not as cozy as TN, but a great place for a Saturday lunch. I'm addicted to their pho.

                                                  2. Such a sad downturn this place has taken. It's just a shadow of its former self.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: durhamois

                                                      Care to elaborate? Chef changes? Ownership changes? Different recipes or ingredients? At least as Thai in NC goes, it was pretty spot on 7-8 years ago