Lunch at Thai Kitchen? Time to start bitchin'!
If it's true that nothing succeeds like success, in the restaurant business, it's also often true that success, like familiarity, breeds boatloads of contempt. Thai Kitchen in Bridgewater's success has bred such contempt for their customers that they don't deserve to have any.
Thai Kitchen's lunch business is booming. During the week, if you arrive there one minute after noon, you'll be waiting fifteen to twenty minutes for a table. But the owner is not content to rake in money hand over fist while serving the quality cuisine that earned him the crowds. What he's done is gradually whittle down portion size to half of what it was while deleting more expensive ingredients from each dish and adding more noodles. For example, Number 13 on their lunch menu is a hideous joke. The dish is described as follows: "Sauteed egg noodles with carrots, napa, scallions, onions, bean sprouts & mushrooms." What was served - - and I'm not exaggerating, so help me Buddha - - was a small dish of noodles wherein we found one mushroom sliced in half, two thumbnail sized shreds of Napa cabbage, one baby corn, several overcooked, limp bean sprouts, and no carrots at all. And when they tell you that you have a choice of beef, chicken or shrimp with a given dish, it's a good thing they don't mistakenly pluralize the word 'shrimp' into 'shrimps' because what you get is what's written: One shrimp!
This degeneration at Thai Kitchen has been a slow process over the past few months, and it reminds me of the old 'Boiling the frog' story. If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it'll jump right out. But if you slowly raise the temperature while the frog is in the pot, the dumb little amphibian will stay in the water until it boils to death. The regular lunch customers at Thai Kitchen in Bridgewater (we once were regulars, too) don't seem to notice that they've been boiled. At lunchtime, unless you're in the mood for a good scalding, we suggest you keep the heck away from that pot entirely.
As I read your post, I assumed you were referring to Thai Kitchen I on Prince Rodger Road. When I looked up 'Thai Kitchen' on the web, however, I discovered that Thai Kitchen II, which is in the shopping plaza near the Somerville Circus, also has a Bridgewater address. Which one are you referring to? Also, have you sampled more than one of the branches to see if this slide down the slippery slope is common to all of them?
LOL over 'Somerville Circus.' Yes. That's the one. We plan to try the Prince Rodgers TK in a couple of weeks when I get back from another eating trip. (Just got back from two weeks in Provence where the lamb is 'self-seasoning' this time of year. They graze on wild thyme and rosemary all day long, and the herb taste is infused in the meat!) BTW, we call it 'Suicide Circle' because the odds of dying in a car crash trying to enter or exit it are pretty damn high.
I've been driving for a pretty long time now and have had to drive in some pretty crazy places, including navigating - and parallel parking - a rented RV through the streets of Westwood in LA, but that circle scares the crap out of me. I avoid it at all costs...
And I was actually salivating reading your description of the lamb in Provence.
Mmgpsych, you should make a project out of this. After the Prince Roger Rd. location, you could visit the Hillsborough location and then the new one in Warren. I've only recently started sampling Thai cuisine so I need to know which ones to avoid!! By any chance, have you ever gone to Pru Thai in Clinton? I had a fairly positive experience on my one and only visit. Unfortunately, the place was crowded when I was there so the service was only so-so.
BTW, I believe 'circus' is the Latin word for circle. For the life of me, I've never understood why Americans don't adopt the British rule for circles/rotaries/roundabouts, namely that vehicles in the circle have the right of way. I've been to British towns and cities that have ten times the population of Somerville and the circles work wonderfully well.