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Pam's unreal Thai

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When I'm approaching 49th St. and 9th Av., it's hard for me not to turn the corner and go to Gazala Place for great Israeli food, but I wanted spicy food today and thought I'd take a break from Wondee.

I've had good meals at Pam before, but I was really pissed off by today's dinner. I ordered Tod Mun Pla, Som Tom, and Duck Prik Khing. I told the waiter that we (my girlfriend and I) like spicy and Thai style, not American style. He gave what looked like a knowing and indulgent smile, but turned out to be a "You don't know what you're talking about, white boy" smile. The Tod Mun was the only dish that was fairly robustly spicy, because of the dipping sauce, which tasted good but could have been less sweet. The Som Tom had no spiciness whatsoever, and the Duck Prik Khing was maybe barely moderately spicy. I asked for some bird's eye chilis and was given some cut-up ones (a better idea than whole ones); they made the Som Tom a lot better and also improved the duck, but there's no doubt the duck, in particular, would have been a lot better had it been cooked with more chilis. At the end, the waiter asked how everything was, and I told him the same thing I just posted here, adding that he should listen to what people say, and that perhaps if I had told him I used to live in Malaysia, he might have taken me seriously (I doubt it, though).

It greatly angers me when the quality of my food is dependent on who my waiter is, to the extent that certain waiters look at my appearance and disregard what I say I want. I would respect anyone who believes I'm overreacting, but the way I feel is that Pam "Real" Thai is on my shit list now. I will not return any time soon and will no longer recommend it.

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Pam Real Thai
404 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

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  1. I was irritated just reading about your experience. (I've had good robust spicing there, but haven't been for a couple of years.)

    What response did you get when you took your complaint above the server level, to a manager or supervisor?

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    Pam Real Thai
    404 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

    1 Reply
    1. re: squid kun

      This irritated me, too. Had you not *specifically* asked for your food "Thai spicy," I'd get it but, come on!

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. god I HATE when it's dumbed down, OP had lived in Malaysia, but that's really beside the point IMHO. the only time that service approach was ok was at an "eat-easy" in Oakland, CA (no sign, no name, no phone) and the owner was the waiter, warned if i wanted hot, I really wanted medium. he was right. I was so used to asking for it to be ramped up, when I finally found the right place I could have blown a gasket.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          One time, the food at Wondee was actually too hot for my girlfriend and me, but we wouldn't admit it because we've found that when they decrease the chili, they decrease the rest of the taste, so we just had more water and more rice and dealt with it. And while it was very spicy, it was also very tasty.

          1. re: Pan

            yes, that's what I loved about the no-name place, medium was about as best as I could handle (for once) but there was still a huge set of flavor layers coming through that I'd never felt before (and rarely since).

            why oh why can't...

        2. I used to love Pam Thai, but the last few times I've gone there I've left unsatisfied. I do think they have let the quality slip a little in recent years, and there are better options around now.

          3 Replies
          1. re: InfoMofo

            I agree. My meals there have been erratic, and I tend not to go there anymore.

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              Where do you recommend for Thai? (I'm visiting in Sept and had Pam Real Thai on my list since I heard they were known for their papaya salad)

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              Pam Real Thai
              404 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: luluwaffles

                Ayada
                Zabb Elle

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                Zabb Elee
                75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

          2. We've had better luck with the 47th St outpost and have stopped going to 49th for pretty much the same reason. You still have to insist on the spiciness. They took pla nam tod (whole steamed snapper with ginger, lime and chili) off the printed menu (the waitress said people only wanted fried fish...) but you can ask for it - our favorite dish there.