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Dinner at Thai House Express - Report

Dave MP May 20, 2007 11:23 PM

I had dinner with 3 friends at Thai House Express on Saturday night, we had a good meal. The menu is very interesting and there are dozens of things that aren't on most Thai menus.

We started with two appetizers. I really enjoyed the chive cakes, though some in the group liked these a bit less than me. Nice crispy outside (well and freshly fried) with a soft doughy inside, and filled with lots of bright green chives. Served with sweet soy dipping sauce. Less popular was the bamboo shoot salad. I convinced everyone to order this mainly because Robert Lauriston said it was so weird and I wanted to see for myself. Boy is he right! This dish was really different and a bit too weird for me. I *almost* liked it and ate my share of the plate (two of my friends stopped eating after one bite) but I wouldn't order it again. The bamboo shoots tasted fermented and the whole dish smelled sort of bad to me. It tasted better than it smelled, and overall it wasn't so great for me and also it was quite spicy and left my tongue burning. Imagine a spicy papaya salad, but instead of papaya, stinky bamboo shoots.

One of my friends (who has lived in Thailand) was excited to see Kao Soy on the menu, since this was one of her favorite dishes to order in Northern Thailand. She ordered this with tofu (it wasn't truly vegetarian since the broth was made with chicken) and I had it with chicken. I thought this dish was very good, but rich. Very fragrant yellow curry with soft noodles, crispy noodles, chicken, scallions, fried garlic, lime and a few other veggies. Generous serving; I was pretty full after eating this.

Another friend had vegetarian kee mao, which I tasted and wasn't so impressed by. It was fine but nothing too special.

Fourth friend got Kao Pad Ka -na Pla Kem (fried rice with egg salted fish and chinese broccoli). I thought this dish was kind of boring. The bites with salted fish were fine...basically what you'd expect. Not bad, but not interesting to me. I guess if you like salted fish and are really in the mood for fried rice (which I never am) this would be good. Might be a good addition to a family style meal too.

While I liked many of the dishes described above, I didn't think anything was as good as the pork leg stew that I had at Thai House Express last week. That's still my favorite and I'll probably stick with that next time I'm at T.H.E.

For dessert, we shared one plate of coconut sticky rice and mango. The rice was very good, mango was just pretty good.

I can't remember for sure, but I think that the total bill, including tax, one thai iced tea and a 20% tip was 64 dollars.

Service was friendly and fast, we enjoyed this place.

Dave MP

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    mlucier RE: Dave MP May 21, 2007 11:36 AM

    Where is Thai House Express?

    6 Replies
    1. re: mlucier
      Robert Lauriston RE: mlucier May 21, 2007 11:37 AM

      Larkin and Geary in SF.

      1. re: mlucier
        Euonymous RE: mlucier May 21, 2007 12:00 PM

        There's also one on Castro at 19th.

        1. re: Euonymous
          Robert Lauriston RE: Euonymous May 21, 2007 12:11 PM

          Yes, but the food can be more Americanized there.

        2. re: mlucier
          Dave MP RE: mlucier May 21, 2007 12:34 PM

          Sorry, meant to add that to my post. Here's the info; I ate at the one in the Tenderloin.

          Thai House Express
          901 Larkin Street
          (@ Geary St)
          San Francisco, CA 94109
          (415) 441-2248

          1. re: Dave MP
            Windy RE: Dave MP May 21, 2007 01:56 PM

            I love khao soy and ordinarily really enjoy THE but was disappointed in their rendition. It was bland, and the broth was kind of flat. Improved a little when I added chiles, but still lacked depth.

            I've had good luck with the Castro location as well as the Tenderloin, especially if you stick to salads and noodles.

            1. re: Windy
              bernalgirl RE: Windy May 21, 2007 08:06 PM

              Agree about the Castro location, if you order anything "mainstream" -- stuff you might like but that is popular stateside -- you will see the difference in the kitchens immediately. But we've generally had good luck with salads and the specials menu.

        3. Melanie Wong RE: Dave MP May 21, 2007 02:19 PM

          Kao soy is the Thai version of the Burmese coconut chicken noodle soup you had at Larkin Express. How would you compare and contrast them?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong
            Dave MP RE: Melanie Wong May 21, 2007 03:26 PM

            They were totally different. The one at THE was not at all like soup....much thicker, and more like a normal Thai curry (in terms of consistency).

            My friend who lived in Thailand actually commented that when she at it in Thailand, it was much soupier and she liked that style better.

            Meanwhile, the version at Larkin Express had a stronger chicken broth flavor, and while the coconut was there, it didn't thicken it, just added flavor and made it a bit creamier.

            I definitely see the resemblance between these two dishes now that you mention it, but the versions were so different that I didn't make the connection until now.

            I also like the added crunch of the toasted peas in the Larkin Express version.

            Dave MP

            1. re: Dave MP
              Melanie Wong RE: Dave MP May 21, 2007 03:28 PM

              Thank you, I thought you'd enjoy connecting the dots across Southeast Asia!

          2. augustiner RE: Dave MP May 21, 2007 10:12 PM

            have you tried the pork leg in its noodle soup version? each time i've been to thai house i've been unable to order anything else. especially with the tiny bits of cracklings floating in the broth.

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