Three Thai Restaurants in Castro Valley!?!
Castro Valley now boasts three Thai Restaurants. Top Thai at 3837 Castro Valley Blvd. (next to the Burrito Shop), Lime Leaf Care in the Village and Bangkok 580 Thai Cuisine, 3774 Castro Valley Blvd (in the old M(L?)a Maison. Having eaten at the first two multiple times and at the latter very recently, a short report seemed like a good idea.
Having only tried the chicken satay, Tum Kha Gai Soup and the green bean stir fry at all three restaurants, I thought I'd limit my thoughts to those three dishes.
First, decor. Top Thai has a real disadvantage situated as it is in a pod mall and next to a fast food restaurant and a nail (manicures and pedicures) shop. They've done the best they can, though, trying to make the space homey with bits and pieces that the family has brought back from Thailand. Lime Leaf doesn't do much better in the Village, and it has this billious green -- lime, of course -- wall color that makes everyone and everything look like they're escapees from Oz. Bangkok 580 wins with a warm rusty orange interior and a place of its own in the Old M(L)a Maison building. Of course, no restaurant has succeeded there, but...
Service. All three have friendly, mostly fast service, although TT can slow down between courses. TT and B580 both offer delivery in the CV area. Yeah!!!!
Food: This is CV afterall, so take the following with not a few grains of salt, but a block of the stuff. The chicken satay at B580 wins. 5 or 6 skewers of very tender and flavorful meat. Peanut sauce homemade, with chunks of peanuts. Cucumber salad a nice mixture of cucs and red onions with a tangy/sweet viniagrette. TT comes a close second, but its chicken can be dry, although the peanut sauce is also homemade with bits and pieces of peanuts. LL just so-so. Prices are comprable at all three places, at about 6.50 to 6.75 a plate.
Bangkok 580 was the hands down winner with their version of Tum Ka Gai Soup. A masterful broth, smooth, silky and just the right undercurrents of lime. TT, also pretty good, but their chicken can be tough. TT, though, puts nicely diced potatoes in their soup, B580 -- none. LL Cafe, again just so-so. B580's soup is slightly pricier at 7.95 for a huge bowl.
Stir-fried green beans and chicken. A toss up. I loved the B580 take with bits of crumbled chicken as well as pieces and lots of perfectly cooked beans and some bell peppers, but the dish as a whole was a bit dry. LL actually puts together a pretty good version with a kind of garlic sauce (I think). TT doesn't have the dish on the menu, but you can ask for it and they will happily stir you up a platter, and much less expensive than at B580 (about 8.00 v. 11.00).
B580 offers alot more choices, beyond the typical (like the above!) I will go back to try the spicy eggplant w/ prawns, the yellow curry lamb, the pepper calamari and a whole mess of Thai BBQs.
Anyway, for a place (we are not incorporated) that seems proud of its lone claim to fame: the most fast food restaurants per square foot, the presence of not one but three Thai restaurants is quite the big deal.
You can now add the Saigon Bistro on CV Blvd -- maybe that will help break the chain-food-concentration curse. C'mon, Loard's ice cream in the CV Village is not really a chain when it has been making the good, rich, flavorful stuff now for decades. I was a kid falling in love with their mocha chip and now I am retired and still in love. Always stop by on my way passing through. Strange how a few establishments like Dell's are STILL there. Yipes.