As promised - thaitalian cooking duet review w/pics
I know, I know...you're thinking, "Thaitalian? WTF kind of cuisine is that?" But before you turn away in confusion, consider this: There is a Thai Italian Chamber of Commerce, an Italian-Thai development company, and a Muay Thai Italian Championship. So really, the concept is really not as weird as you think it is.
My friends spent last Friday evening at Thaitalian Cooking Duet in Old Town Pasadena. I've passed this place several times in recent months, and it always stirs thoughts of two kids playing with food with one saying, "Hey, you got your thai noodles in my Italian pasta!" and the other replying, "No, you got YOUR Italian pasta in my Thai noodles!" then some narrator gregariously announcing, "Thaitalian - Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together!"
Surprisingly enough, the announcer guy would actually be right. We started off with some cocktails, which were really very good. Tawny had the Lava Guava, a tall drink of wonderful made with Absolut Vanilla, Peach Schnapps,Maibu, Midori, guava juice, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, grenadine, sweet and sour. Steve had his usual martini, with a twist, which he proclaimed was excellent. I had a glass of a good pinot noir.
We decided to split a few things, since thaitalian's overwhelmingly large menu left all of us a little stressed on what to choose. Everything sounded good. We shared the chicken satay, which was tender, moist and came with a tasty peanut sauce, as well as the thaitalian cups. The filo cups were filled with shrimp, chicken and various spices and served with a crunchy cucumber salad. Very tasty.
Next up was the Spicy Thai Beef Salad, a standard on many Thai restaurant menus. The only difference was that this version contained about 12-15 corkscrew pasta pieces. It didn't really add or take anything away from the salad, which was excellent. The beef was perfectly cooked, and the dressing was spicy and not too heavy.
Finally, we split the Yellow Curry Chicken Pizza. Yes, there is a little bit of mozzarella on this, but it really goes well with the mild curry. The chicken chunks were moist and juicy and they did not overdo the cheese or curry - it really was just right.
All in all, not a profound dining experience, but a very good meal and decent service in a nice atmosphere for a reasonable price. The three of us ate until we were full, and each had two drinks. The total, including a generous tip, was $40 per person. I will definitely go back here again.
Boy, I wish there were some way to get people to stampede to this place. I feel like screaming at the throngs waiting for hours to get into that tourist-trap Cheesecake Factory (and most of them aren't even tourists!) "Take your money and head up the street, you morons!" It's not the greatest food in town or anything, but it's a friendly and classy-looking place with an interesting menu and (as you noted) some cute drinks, which makes Mrs. O very happy. I've never had anything that I dreamt about for weeks there, but even the weakest item (the Pizza Margherita, alas) was more than merely edible, and all the rest darned good. They just need more people discovering them, is all.
re: Will Owen
i have to add that the weakest dish there is the thai eggplant with spaghetti marinara. it was like having shrimp with lobster sauce mixed with a cobb salad? i can't think of an equal combo that makes my stomach turn as much as that dish did. the two flavors from the marinara and the sweet eggplant sauce were so over powering. the pasta was over cooked and over sauced.
on the contrary, the seafood eggrolls are amazing and husbands pasta pescatore was delightful! the pescatore has a winning combo of bit sweet and salty with thai spices and abundant fresh shellfish. we both agreed we could eat that dish for days.