Thai Cafe (Durham, NC) report
I've been known to say that I haven't been impressed with Thai Cafe. I ate there twice early on, and they hit one of my nerves... it bugs the bejeezus out of me when I ask for my spicy food to be spicy and it isn't.
I've eaten there twice more recently. The first time, I explained to my waitress that I'd twice before asked for my food to be spicy, to no avail. She said something along the lines of "I'll take care of you", and she did! Hooray. I had pad thai, chicken larb, and spicy basil chicken. I don't expect pad thai to be spicy, I'm under the impression that it's not intended to be? Anyway, it's only when something has the three peppers by it and it comes out milder than mild that I get irritated. The two spicy dishes came out with some red powder splashed across them, and my first thought was if they just dumped dried red chili peppers on it to make it spicy, I'm going to be severely peeved. But, no! The dishes were very tasty, with a nice heat, and the red powder was much more flavorful and pleasant than just a handful of red pepper flakes. I brought lots of leftovers to DH, who also was very pleased.
So, last week, when dinner with a friend came up, I suggested Thai Cafe. We shared an order of potstickers, basil rolls, green curry chicken, and pad thai. We requested that the green curry be spicy as indicated on the menu. The basil rolls were fine, but the wrapper seemed much thicker than normal, and the filling seemed a bit skimpy. We really got these because my friend likes them, and she did. They're not my fav, but there was nothing wrong with them. The pad thai was pad thai. I'm no expert, but I liked it. The green curry was very fresh and delicious and had a nice heat to it. The potstickers!!! The potstickers are unbelievable. It's the texture that sends them over the top, the crispy bits are wonderfully crisp - to the point that, had there not been lovely soft chewey bits, I would have sworn they were deep fried... only more "crisp", not the "crunchy" that deep frying actually would have done. They were sitting, and covered, in the house's red curry sauce, which was just wonderful. If I'd know what these were like, I'd have petitioned for one entree and two or three orders of potstickers!
I also indulged in a "Thai Lady" martini, which was lemongrass influenced. It was just what I was in the mood for. At the end of dinner, I savored a glass of their 20 year tawny port (I've been exploring ports of late, and I think I've found my winner!)
All in all, a very pleasant evening. The food bill, before tip, after tax, was right at $34.
I used to like Thai Palace until Twisted Noodles opened. Now, that's my favorite place for Thai food. I was there for lunch last week and what was reassuring was the number of Asians dining there. I think Twisted Noodles makes the food more authentically Thai and spicy (if requested).
We are regulars for lunch and can also recommend spicy basil leaves with chicken (we substitute tofu), the eggplant noodle bowl with salmon and the spicy beef salad.
Over the past few months they seem to have picked up the heat in the spicier offerings. They once asked me if the spicy beef salad was too spicy, and I assured them it was not.
My husband and I have been here once and had the potstickers too. Very good and unique. We both liked out dishes -- he had a green curry, I had a stir-fried chicken and veggie thing (I know, boring, but I wasn't in the mood for anything complicated or spicy).
We were very intrigued by the look of the coconut cake. We didn't get it because we're dieting, but it looked fantastic. Can anyone comment on it?
2501 University Dr, Durham, NC 27707