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El Sobrante: Calilfornia Thai Restaurant - Khao soy chicken, karee puff, lime prawn soup, hoy jor

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First impressions are lasting and this one was good.

Located in the old location of Tina's Creekside Cafe it is beautifully redone. I'd say nicest restaurant in within a 10 mile radius ,,, even though there are so few contenders that they can be can be counted on one hand ... with lots of fingers left over. Anyone local could use this as a nice date restaurant without having to drive to Berkeley. Wine and beer is served. I didn't see the wine list, but saw a bottle of Sterling.

It seems they have items that aren't often on Thai menus. The dishes are very fresh tasting. Here's what I ordered for takeout with menu description

- Lime prawn soup $4
A tart, hot broth accented with prawns, lime juice, lemongrass, cilantro, mushrooms and house-roasted chili sauce

-Himapan chicken $7.25
Chicken and cashew nuts sauteed with garlic black sweet sauce, pepper, onion and broccoli

They also are fond of baby corn and both dishes had a few.

The soup was lovely though not hot in terms of spice and not that tart. None of the mentioned ingredients stood out in the broth, but it was subtle with the shrimp flavor dominating. There were lots of fresh button mushrooms and four plump shrimp with tails on.

There was a mix up and I got the himapan version with both shrimp and chicken. The sauce was lightly applied. i really couldn't see it but it gave the whole dish a pleasant subdued garlic flavor. It came with a nice scoop of jasmine rice.

Service was very pleasant and welcoming. There is a long green banquette along the wall with three large windows. Four cozy booths line another wall. there are a few tables. Cloth napkins are folded beautifully.

The only caveat is that their take-out menu is kind of a mess with lunch dishes mixed with dinner dishes and very little to indicate which is which. They say the new menu is on the way. Until then, I'd ask to see the in-house restaurant menus if planning takeout.

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Calilfornia Thai Restaurant
3873 San Pablo Dam Rd, El Sobrante, CA 94803

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  1. A few of the menu items. They may or may be on every Thai menu in town. I don't eat Thai food often.

    Karee puff $4
    Golden fried eggroll skins stuffed with chicken, potatoes, and curry powder served with vegetable pickle and sweet chili sauce

    Hoy Jor $5

    The menu description on this one is scrambled
    Bathed in a marinate (sic) of soy sauce, garlic, and Thai herbs, charbroiled and complemented by a carrot-peanut salad.

    Khao soy chicken $7.50
    A delicious northern Thai style egg noodles, with chicken in yellow curry sauce served with side dish of pickled mustard, red onion and homemade roasted chili paste.

    OK, maybe not as unusual if the alternate spelling khao soi is used
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/320596
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khao_soi

    Udon kee mao $7,50 with beef or chicken $8.95 prawns
    This is a review of a North Carolina Thai resturant that says ...
    http://www.newsobserver.com/1132/stor...
    "I can practically guarantee you won't find udon pad kee mao elsewhere. Owner Chanatsip Sukhothai, who worked for more than a decade in her aunt's restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., before moving here, says it's their own family creation: a Japanese-Thai fusion of udon noodles stir-fried with chiles, basil leaves, tender-crunchy vegetables and your choice of chicken, beef or the plump, sweet shrimp "

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Sterling? On San Pablo Dam Road? No kidding!

      The khao soy sighting is also good news because the only place I know to get it in the immediate area is Da Nang on San Pablo at Solano in Albany.

      1. re: rworange

        The Karee Puff I've seen before ("Curry Puff"- sometimes they are just labeled samosas, which is what they are pretty much).

        I've had Spaghetti Kee Mao at a place before, but Udon sounds pretty good.

        1. re: P. Punko

          The khao soy is also decent at Thai House Express in SF. There's also another place in the Richmond district of SF that makes good khao soy but I don't remember the name.

          1. re: hong_kong_foodie

            I find it on the menus of Marnee Thai and Thai Chef 2 but neither is in the Richmond.
            Are they not good?