HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

Khao San Road Review

Haven't seen one yet on the boards, so I thought I'd post my critique of this new restaurant.

DISCLAIMERS:

Food was placed as a take-out order

Ordered from the Lunch Menu

40 min round trip to and from Khao San and back to location of ingestion

Right then; on with the review!

1) Garlic Tofu

Tofu was absolutely crispy, as described. Nice creaminess in the middle, appreciated the total absence of chalky-ness that you sometimes get in other applications similar to this. Unfortunately, the advertised "Garlic Sauce" didn't make the trip back with me. Cynics may say that was my fault for not checking the contents of my bag, but I still feel like the restaurant has at least SOME responsibility towards ensuring my order is complete. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed the little nuggets and they also passed the 15 minute test (stayed crispy past 15 minutes, not including the 20 minutes they steamed in the bag prior to my return to work).

4/5 (.5 point deduction because the sauce was missing)

2) Pad Thai (Street-Style)

Somewhat pretentiously I asked if I could have a half order of both variations of pad thai in one container so we could taste both types. My request was politely denied, and I didn't want to press them, just out of respect for the menu not having a "Mix and Match your own dishes" option. I decided on the "Street-Style" pad thai, logically thinking that a restaurant named for a street in Thailand, must do good street pad thai.

Please understand that I am judging this dish solely upon flavor because of the transit time. We all know what happens to sauced noodles when they're left to sit for a bit.

The flavor was bland. Had you placed this dish in front of me and asked me what it is, I would not have said pad thai. We tasted no tamarind, though thankfully there was also an absence of ketchup as well. Perhaps "street-style" pad thai is a completely different beast, as the description on the menu is rather vague. I admit that I don't know exactly what "street-style" means, so maybe this is precisely what it should taste like. With no peanuts, and only a few shreds of cabbage, the dish was unpleasantly mushy. I will say that they were very generous with the amount of chicken provided. Maybe next time we'll go back for the other pad thai...

1.5/5

3) Khao Soi

Deconstructed for the take-out order, the dish came in separate containers of egg noodles, coconut curry with beef, crispy noodles and a lime wedge. Very nice thought on their part because it prevented overcooked and stodgy noodles.

I first must address the beef in this dish. I have a problem with incorrectly braised beef. Braising is heralded as being easy and simple, but that doesn't mean you can't mess it up. Take the beef in the curry, for instance; dry, stringy and not overly tender. I'm not sure if the beef was boiled too angrily during the braise, or if the wrong cut was used, or if the beef was left to sit outside of liquid while it cooled, but it was a massive disappointment. Hopefully it's an inconsistency with the kitchen, and I just ordered it on the wrong day.

The curry was nicely seasoned, and had that spice technique that I really like where the heat covers the entire surface of your tongue, from tip to the back of your throat. Too many times I have had curries where I can tell they only used cayenne because the tip of my tongue is on fire while the rest of my mouth is fine. This was done with finesse and balance, which I commend them for.

I don't think I have to describe the egg noodles or crispy noodles to you; they were competent for what they were there for.

3/5

4) Tapioca

This was fantastic. Way up there rubbing shoulders with Keller's Oysters and Pearls in terms of my favorite applications of tapioca. A creamy, yet light tapioca pudding served warm with thin strips of young coconut flesh. Wonderfully refreshing, it was a shame to have to swallow it eventually because it was like silk on the roof of my mouth. Tapioca pearls were perfectly cooked; soft but still offering delicate resistance. Most importantly of all, it wasn't too sweet.

5/5

Bill: ~$37
Final Remarks:

Not the best thai food I've had in Toronto (Thai Shan still holds that comfy seat), but with a few tweaks, and perhaps a drop in price, they could really go places here. Next time we'll be sure to try the other pad thai, and hopefully we'll be able to dine-in to eliminate any outside variables. For now, however, I feel like KSR is still a work in progress (understandable; they've been open for what - two weeks?) though, and I know the owners read these boards, I offer them nothing but encouragement because I see fantastic potential moving forward.

-----
Khao San Road
326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
    1. re: estufarian

      Not sure I understand what you're trying to say; that thread was the original opening thread and it's become quite a jumble of information. When I said I hadn't seen a review thread, I meant a thread that gave people a single area to post their opinions of the place and read other reviews as well.

    2. Looks like they have some consistency issues since the beef in the khao soi I had for lunch on Friday was tender. I thought the garlic tofu was fantastic and look forward to many many more lunches there in the future. I may need to make a reservation though, it was completely packed by 12:30. Pretty good turnout since there's still no official sign outside yet!

        1. re: fryerlover

          Khao San Road was every bit as good as I was expecting. We are addicted to Sukho Thai delivery and thought we would venture over to Khao San Road to check it out. The food was delicious and fresh, service was great, and the room was perfect.

          I typically dislike Thai food but since we moved to Toronto and Sukho Thai was recommended to us by friends, we cant say enough about the food.

          -----
          Khao San Road
          326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

        2. Just went their tonight for the first time. I have never been Sukhothai so I was excited to try this new place out! I took my friends and we all LOVED it! We ordered 2 appetizers, the garlic tofu and the squash chips. I just read the Globe and Mail review and realized we should have gotten the squash fritters, oh well, we can get that the next time we go! I loved the garlic tofu, fried tofu with a very tasty dipping sauce! The squash chips were okay, they tasted like plain chips but with the dip it came with, it elevated them to another level!

          For our mains, my friend and I got the medium Sam Roas pad thai and my other friend got the Gaeng Panang with chicken. As soon as I started eating, I just ate the whole dish up, it was so good that I enjoyed every bite and didn't get tired of eating the same thing. It was so good and the perfect level of spiciness! My friends loved their dishes as well. We were too stuffed for dessert!

          I believe Jeff came by at the end of our meal to ask what we thought and we told him how much we loved it and asked him how long his restaurant had been open for. He was very nice and looked genuinely pleased that we had enjoyed the food. We look forward to going many more times!

          -----
          Sukhothai Restaurant
          11 4th St E, Cornwall, ON K6H2H7, CA

          1. Went to KSR on Saturday for dinner and there was a line up out the door. We ended up sitting at the bar. We had waited about 40 mins for a table for 2 as we didn’t have reservations but it appeared that those who had reservations also had a bit of a wait.
            Once we were seated we didn’t get our menu right away. It was about a 10 min wait. The menu and wine list are just a few pages printed on some computer paper and stapled at the corner.
            We were starving and were excited to try the food so we ordered 10 things (we don't mind taking home leftovers!): garlic tofu, spring rolls, squash fritters, one soup, som roas pad thai, khao soi, Pad Gra Prao, 2 desserts, and 2 thai iced teas.

            Issues: out of the items we ordered, we failed to receive all our dishes (didn’t get spring rolls, soup, pad gra prao, one dessert). The speed from the kitchen is similar to Sukho thai but there is nothing new about that. But be prepared to wait for food while the phone rings off the hook and no one answers as they are too busy serving customers in the store. Also the sound of the ice crushing machine whirring every 5 mins to keep up with thai iced tea orders is beyond annoying. We also didn’t get any water or chilli sauce brought to us throughout our entire meal even though we asked for it. the service was clearly overwhelmed by the patrons. The line up was consistent throughout our entire dinner.

            The food was great. The Garlic tofu and Sam Roas style pad thai – both amazing. See previous reviews and believe them. Flavourful and done perfectly. The koah soi was very rich, I definitely wouldn’t be able to eat this everyday. The meat was tender and the noodles were soft. I’ve never tried this dish before (always stuck to the delicious pad thai) but read so much about it I had to try it. it was a nice presentation, but there was a clear separation between the top layer of oil and the coconut curry laksa-like soup. Perhaps this is normal, it wasn’t a big deal, I just stirred it in. it was tasty otherwise. We ordered our entrees thai hot and they were very mild (it would have been nice to add chilli sauce to it, but we never rec’d it). The drinks were delicious, very creamy and the blend of tea is to die for! Much better than any other thai iced tea I’ve had in Toronto. The crushed ice cubes is a nice touch, instead of large ice cubes. The dessert was simple, warm, and creamy.

            Despite the food being phenomenal, there were clear service issues. We didn’t get all of our food but didn’t want to wait 30 mins for all the things that were not brought out, esp in the noisy area we were sitting in, so maybe they did us a favour there. Our bill was about $75 for 2 people, I loved the food, but I would grade the forgetful and disorganized wait staff/service a D. The atmosphere left me with a pounding headache from both the noise and the crowd we had to battle through to leave our seats to exit. I plan on coming back, but I’ll be waiting for owners to get things sorted and the hype dies down a bit before I go back again.

            -----
            Khao San Road
            326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

            14 Replies
            1. re: stephcolb

              Joane Kates reviewed it yesterday and said basically the same thing - great food and haphazard service. But now you'll have to wait quite awhile for the hype to die down. That's when I'll give it a try.

              http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/f...

              1. re: foodyDudey

                i'm happy for the owners that their business is doing well, but one would think that they would pay attention to the constant service issues. it would make a huge difference in the dining experience, esp given the high caliber of food.

                1. re: stephcolb

                  You probably caught the restaurant at a "perfect storm". The weekend following reviews in 2 major papers in Toronto. Pretty hard for any restaurant to handle that kind of demand on such short notice.

                  Staffing is a delicate issue, even if you hire a bunch of extra help for the weekends. How do you disperse shifts when it's quieter on weekdays? Pretty hard to keep extra well trained staff with only shifts on Friday/Saturday.

                  Then again, I don't think most diners care about these things. They just want to be served quickly. The problems they deal with behind the scene is none of their concern. Just make it work!

                  I've had delays with food coming out in the past at both KSR and Sukhothai, but I'm willing to cut them slack because it's a family operation w/ financial constraints. I try to avoid going on Fri/Sat if at all possible.

                  -----
                  Sukhothai
                  274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                  1. re: aser

                    staffing is an ongoing issue, but small things could have made a big difference. for example it did not appear that any of the staff had sections (maybe it was just the bar area?) anyways, a different girl gave us the menu, our dishes were brought to us by different people, and our bill was served by a different person.

                    it seemed like the tables were numbered for taking orders, but the staff appeard to be confused about what dishes were ordered at each table. several times (i'm talkin more than 5+) i saw the waitresses go up to a different table and ask "did you order X?". this happened to us as well, and the additional pad thai ended up belonging to the table behind us.

                    i def. took the reviews and CH buzz into consideration, and we were laid back so i didn't bother asking for our missed items, etc as to not stress out the young staff even more. however i firmly believe that small tweaks could have been made to enhance the experience. like having one waitress/host be assigned to answer the phone so it's not ringing off the hook. this would be considerate to patrons who are calling, and those sitting on the right side of the resto. the food is good enough to return but i just wish the service was ironed out a bit! i'm sure the business will continue to do really well, which gives the owners tons of opportunity to improve. i'm glad there's a great place for thai in downtown and def. want them to succeed.

                    1. re: aser

                      mrs bytepusher had lunch this week, real service problems and NOT because they were slammed, at the time they weren't. Kitchen coped fine, food sits in the pass for 10+ minutes before being delivered while the servers socialized.

                2. re: stephcolb

                  just wanted to note that the menu isn't finalized which is why they're on printer paper at the moment.

                  1. re: stephcolb

                    I also experienced service issues several weeks ago, and it was not busy. Very friendly, but quite "out of it"-mostly green servers from what I could tell. Had to ask for water repeatedly before getting any, didn't receive sparkling water refills that were asked for, etc.. The servers also had no clue about whether any of the wines on the board were offered by the glass, so just ordered beer instead.

                    The redeeming factor was that the food was fantastic, much better than my experiences at Sukhothai in fact. Khao Soi and pad thai amazing, squash fritters and cold rolls ditto. I will be back, but will wait a bit to see if they can iron out the service kinks.

                    Does anyone know if they offer vegetarian options at lunch?

                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                      From what I remember, I don't think they actually list vegetarian options on the lunch menu, but we asked if they could make a veggie pad thai for my coworker and it wasn't a problem.

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        Are any of the wines offered by the glass? We ate there last week and were told by our server that none of them were (which really surprised us...at a place with mains averaging around $15, we have to buy a whole bottle if we want wine?)

                        1. re: Strongbad789

                          I was there last week and really enjoyed the squash fritters as well as one of the house special curries with tamarind and shrimps. There were no wines by the glass but there is a half bottle of a decent high acid italian white available for about $20 - basically the same price as 2 glasses.

                          Like a review above, I was completely unimpressed with the pad thai and found the spicing very mild. I had ordered medium which was barely detectable.

                          I would go back as I found the service very friendly and efficient and I live in the area.

                          1. re: Cat123

                            Complaining about the lack of spicing when you ordered medium seems contradictory to me.

                            Go back, try the spicy or thai spicy and then you'll see. Spicing is such a personal issue, it's so hard to define one's medium to another's spicy. Almost as variable as "salting".

                            Plus, with medium in Toronto, you know they're going to err on the side of caution = not spicy.

                            1. re: aser

                              Agree fully here re:spicing Aser. I requested my pad Thai "Thai spicy" and it was fantastic.

                              1. re: aser

                                totally agree. someone ordered 'mild' and she couldn't eat it because it was too spicy for her...

                                1. re: aser

                                  Thanks - my complaint with the pad thai wasn't really the spicing level - it was the general lack of flavour. I typically order medium spiciness when at a resto for the first time as you never know what they have in mind.

                        2. Have also been recently and loved the yellow curry beef. Great spicing, many layered flavours, perfect meat and potatoes.

                          Also enjoyed the squash fritters, although I wouldn't say they're a revelation. It's deep-fried squash, people: of course it's tasty!

                          Was underwhelmed by the pad thai. I'd tried this dish out during one of the trial dinners pre-opening, and I loved it! It was spicier, and just more fragrant. Not sure what they changed but perhaps they're still working out kinks.

                          I'll go back for sure. The curry and the tasty fritters warrant making this gem a Regular place on my roster.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Yum2MyTum

                            All the Curry dishes I have had have been wonderful. If you ask for them spicy they will oblige and give it a serious kick.(Or at least in my 12 or so instances at Khao San Road and Sukho Tai) I have a pretty high tolerance for spice and they definitely do a good job.

                            Another wonderful suggestion I have in terms of dishes is the Pad Kee Mao. Surprised I haven't heard it mentioned on here. It is awesome and if you ask for it spicy you won't be disappointed.

                            -----
                            Khao San Road
                            326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

                            1. re: Yum2MyTum

                              The squash fritters may not be a revelation but it's so nice to finally have a fantastically layered dipping sauce that isn't pure peanut butter and has that perfect combo of salt, sweet and sour!

                              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                Hi SWS, totally in agreement with you there. The sauce is phenomenal. And going forward I'll ask for my pad Thai "Thai Spicy"...

                            2. I think I liked it better when they were Sukhothai on Parliament St and no one knew about them and people balked when I suggested going to this little hole in the wall south end of Pariiament St for the best Thai food in North America. Then I had no problem getting in or ordering take out. Now, with the new location further away from me and the crowds I don't get to enjoy it as much.

                              Seriously, I am happy or all their success and great reviews. They've worked hard and deserve it. I just wish I was able to indulge in their food as much as I have in the past. Too bad there is no VIP card for people like me who ate there from the beginning when no one knew about them, lol.

                              -----
                              Sukhothai
                              274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Flexitarian

                                Best Thai food in North America? Certainly debatable-I suggest you check out the Thai food in Portland OR.

                              2. I went for lunch on a weekday and ordered Pad Gra Prao with combo upgrade and garlic chicken and both dishes were exellent. The Pad Gra Proa with shredded beef have the layers of thai flavors but also savory, the shredded beef is tender and the right size and flavor, and the sauces complement the fragrant jasmine rice perfecly abit a little short and no enough to cover all the rice. The garlic chicken is one of the best starter dish I have in Toronto with its spicy hot sour sweet dipping sauces enhacing the flavor of the crispy breaded shell, and then to the tender chicken meat. Perfect executiion, texture and taste. Divine with the dipping sauces, and just very good without. The meal comes out to the low $20's but very memorable. Going to try something else very soon.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: aliangwb

                                  Went to KSR for lunch yesterday (Monday) with friends. We arrived at 11:40 to beat the crowds - good thing too! By shortly after noon it was packed and there was a wait for tables. Service was quite slow, and our mains did not come out at the same time. One person got served, then 5 minutes later, another person got served, etc. This needs to be worked out!
                                  We had the khao soi with beef - excellent as always - exact same as at Sukhothai. One person had the vegetarian pad thai which was okay and another had the pad gra prao which was pretty good.
                                  After reading all the talk, I was excited to try the squash fritters, then saddened when told they were not offered at lunch.
                                  All in all, the location is better because it's an easy walk from the subway and the chairs are much more comfortable than Sukhothai which has such squishy and uncomfortable tables. The other location is also in a scary location. I will definitely return.

                                  -----
                                  Sukhothai
                                  274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                                  1. re: torontobelly

                                    I would go as far as to say nowhere in Toronto is scary.

                                    I've been to sukho a few times since the 'split.'

                                    Still love it. I tend to go during off hours and its never busy and the food is tasty.

                                    Wasn't enchanted with my one KSR experience when I was in the country in Feb but I'll try it again when I return.

                                    1. re: radiopolitic

                                      Folks, just a quick note that whether a neighbourhood is or isn't safe is considered off-topic on Chowhound.

                                      Chowhound is a great place to discuss where to find deliciousness, but when it comes to serious issues like personal safety, we're not a reliable source for information. We've found that those discussions inevitably get heated and well off-topic for our site -- no one likes to hear an area where they live is considered unsafe.

                                      We also don't want to leave anyone with the perception that they'll get an accurate gauge of possible safety issues by reading Chowhound -- we're never going to be able to provide timely or complete information on those issues. It's best for people who are concerned about personal safety issues to do their research somewhere they can be sure to get up-to-date reliable information. We can't be that place.

                                      We've tried to leave up posts that were focused more on the food than the neighbourhood safety issues, and remove those that are more focused on safety than chow. We'd ask that everyone please let the safety discussion go, and focus on the food.

                                      Thanks.

                                      1. re: radiopolitic

                                        Got take out from ksr last night very average food in my opinion should have gone to sukho thai is way better any given day

                                  2. Went back for lunch again, having seen the reviews from the Star and the Globe, I thought I ought to give the place another go.

                                    Same deal as before, take-out, so I've eliminated variables like cold food and sogginess.

                                    Arrived at 12:45 to a packed house. Spoke to Jeff and he said it's a 35 minute wait as the kitchen was running behind. Bit long for take-out, but I understood so I put in my order and waited patiently. Might I add that the KSR dining room smells absolutely fantastic; I think they might have the same designer as Nick at Porchetta who filters porky air outside the front door. Clever, clever.

                                    1) Pad Thai Sam Ros

                                    This is the traditional pad thai, we had the street-style last time and we weren't impressed. This time however was MUCH better. Flavors were well balanced, the noodles were perfectly cooked, chicken was still moist and seasoning was spot on. Only complaint is that it could've used a tiny bit more tamarind, but then we're just nit picking. Major redemption on KSR's part!

                                    4.5/5

                                    2) Tom Yum

                                    Not as good as Thai Shan Inn, but still very nice. Good bite to it from the galangal and chilies. Key to impressing me with a tom yum is to have the spice attack all the areas of the palate; a lot of bad ones load up on ginger or chili powder and you can tell when all the spice is on the tip of your tongue or in the back of your throat. That was not the case this time. Shrimp were slightly overcooked, but that might have to do with the transit time from the restaurant back to work. I've written that one off as a variable of travel.

                                    4/5

                                    3) Pad Gra Prao

                                    I ordered this just because I've heard the ravings from you guys. Had it with chicken this time, but it was still very well executed. Rice was nicely cooked, though very close to being overcooked. Key for rice with me is that it has to taste good without any sauce on it. Too many times I've seen rice as a write-off on dishes where it's just boiled in water and it's a vessel for a sauce. The rice here actually tastes really nice; good amount of salt, and there's some richness in there too (chicken fat?). The holy basil was a very nice touch. Used in moderation so it wasn't medicinal, but it enhanced the dish and fleshed out all the flavors very nicely. Suggestion; the cucumbers that were served with the dish, maybe do something with them instead of serving them raw? A David Chang quick-pickle, perhaps? Just a suggestion, but overall it was a successful dish.

                                    4.5/5

                                    Very impressed with the food the second time around. Still slightly expensive for my tastes, but if the price drops by a couple bucks I could see myself as a regular customer, but $30 for two mains and a small side soup is a bit out of my average range. Best of luck with the future though!

                                    -----
                                    Thai Shan Inn Restaurant
                                    2404 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6E 3S8, CA

                                    Khao San Road
                                    326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

                                    1. having had "street pad thai" in thailand, i can say that i recall it not being saucy the way we make it here. i don't like the saucy pad thai i've had in toronto at all. in fact, i wonder about pad thai in general.. because it basically means "thai noodles." why would thai people call a dish "thai noodles"? i suspect it was perhaps invented for westerners.. and what thai people eat is something completely different (like the street noodles maybe?)

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: helenhelen

                                        i thought "pad" translated to "fried" actually.... so i'd agree that when i think of fried noodles it wouldn't be very saucy but i think a sauce can be involved... a la the soy saucy fried haw fun with beef you can get at cantonese places.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                          i looked it up later and you are right. my bad! found a bit of a history too:
                                          http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/g...

                                        2. re: helenhelen

                                          I really prefer the tamarind-free versions of pad thai I've had in T.O. I'm looking forward to trying the Khao San version. Once in a while I come across one with tamarind I like, but I usually find it too sweet the way most Thai places in town prepare it.

                                          1. re: Pincus

                                            agreed - i find it too sweet at most places too.. but i find it's the ketchup that makes it too sweet usually..

                                        3. there is a special dinner wed and thu for thai new year (songkran festival) - you have to reserve in advance:

                                          http://khaosanroad.us2.list-manage1.c...

                                          seems they cater to vegetarians too. looking forward to trying this!

                                          p.s. traditional songkran festival involves copious amounts of water.. so apparently, we are to be prepared to get wet!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            ridiculous fun! everyone got armed with little water guns and a bucket of water to refill right at your table (and sometimes the buckets were dumped, rather than just used for refilling!). all out water fight! totally unexpected! i knew we'd get wet somehow since the reservation form on their website alluded to it, but i didn't realize it would be a full-on water fight!

                                            the food was fantastic too. i had the veg menu and it consisted of 3 apps (squash fritters, a very garlicky and spicy papaya salad, mushroom laap salad), the main was a northern thai curry (no coconut milk) which was delicious and full of complex flavours and served with steamed white rice, and dessert was the most delicious sliced mango on perfectly cooked sticky rice with sweet coconut milk. all in all, a great meal! it was a bit hard to pay full attention to the meal though because water was flying everywhere and you end up getting swept away by the fun instead. i really appreciated everyone's sense of humour. kitchen staff came out at one point and pelted us all en masse with water guns.

                                            the veg menu wasn't fully veg though - i could taste the fish sauce in the papaya salad. i read that the squash fritters normally have shrimp paste so i'm not sure if it was in these or not, or excluded (i suspect it was used if there was fish sauce in the salad).

                                            about songkran festival: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songkran

                                            1. re: helenhelen

                                              so i talked to them about the veg versions and what they use, apparently instead of fish sauce it is a high quality thai soy sauce with a little extra salt. i'm curious how funky it is to mimic fish sauce so i'll have to sample it by itself some time!

                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                wow, good to know. it definitely tasted like no fish sauce was missing! do you know the name of the soy sauce?

                                            2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                              We were supposed to go but unfortunately had to cancel - I did stop in for a few minutes to check the place out - got squirted by 3 different people before I was halfway into the place. Anyway, the atmosphere was great, the little decorations were sweet. Everyone was wearing plastic leis around their necks and armed with squirt guns, including the staff. I took home some of the yellow curry pork belly - fragrant lemongrass, tender chunks of pork, gorgeous depth of flavour, highly addictive. I hope it finds its way on to the regular menu.

                                            3. Stumbled across this place last night while in the area and glad we did. Had not heard of this place as of yet though my girlfriend after sitting down remembered reading some sort of buzz about this joint. Knew the food was going to be great when i saw Allan who has been a server at the Senator for a decade and a half eating here. You know a place is likely to be good when the industry supports it.

                                              And. It was great. Very busy but the line moved very quickly and we were seated in about 10 minutes. We grabbed two seats at the bar.

                                              We asked the bar tender what was good and she did not lead us astray. We took all of her recommendations as follows.

                                              Started with the chicken sausage rolls and the fried squash rolls. Both were great. The rolls sliced in six large pieces contained a sizeable portion of chicken sausage and delicious fresh veggies and spices. Out of this world is the only way to descirbe the fritters. Not greasy at all with a lovely tast of lemon grass. Both come with a equally delicious dipping sauce. We had to ask for another side of it as it was so good. In fact I think that stuff would be great on anything.

                                              We then moved to the Sam Roas pad thai. We ordered it medium with chicken. Some of the lightest pad thai i have eaten in a long time. Other than next time trying it hot would not change a thing.

                                              We then ordered the green curry chicken as my girlfriend wanted to try it. I am not a huge curry fan as i don't like cocunnut milk tastes. She seemed to enjoy it. Based on my few mouthfulls (again we ordered medium) again I would say Hot may be the way to go.

                                              A great dinner. Two of the owners passed by to see what we thought as they were doing all night. Making sure as they said everything is perfect.

                                              Total dinner was under $50. Will be back. Soon!!!!!

                                              -----
                                              Khao San Road
                                              326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

                                              1. Went to KSR tonight for dinner. This will be an interesting perspective as I never eat Thai food, so I'm really coming at this with comparisons to nothing. Also important to note: I hate cilantro/coriander, and I also can't tolerate spicy food.

                                                But I did enjoy KSR.

                                                We made reservations for 4 at 7 p.m. My duo arrived a few minutes before 7, and we were told we wouldn't get seated until everyone arrived, and if they weren't there within 15 minutes our tables would be given away. Sounds reasonable. The other pair arrived shortly after, and we were seated. I must say that the service was friendly and informed. I also enjoyed that, since it was Hallowe'en, all the staff were wearing costumes and the place was decorated spooky. I appreciate those details.

                                                I started with the Chai iced tea, which was absolutely amazing, and I was glad for it when things got a bit too hot for my liking. We shared three appetizers and three mains for the table, which was a generous amount. Loved the squash fritters and enjoyed the spring rolls, wasn't hugely impressed with the fried chicken app. For the mains, we had chicken street style pad thai, the chicken curry and the beef thai basil dish. I absolutely adored the pad thai and the curry, loved the vegetables in the curry and the flavours were excellent. The other dish didn't do anything for me, but it wasn't terrible by any means.

                                                Overall, I had a really good time. The food was a bit expensive for what it was, but I liked the room, the noise level was perfect for a double date, and for someone who usually shies away from Thai food, I was pleasantly surprised. Will be back!

                                                1. My BIL is a regular at KSR and, after hearing him rave about it for many months, I finally had the opportunity to nosh on some take-out this past weekend on a visit back to Toronto.

                                                  I can see the draw to dining in here, the room has a great buzz about it and the place was jamming on this particular summer Friday night.

                                                  I got to yammering with one of the very friendly waitresses who informed me the chef-owner hails from Chiang Mai, which explained the chalkboard special of sai oua and the presence of khao soi on the menu. My BIL called in an order of some of his favourites which, on this occasion, included khao soi, panang curry, chef's special pad thai, and tom yum goong. A deft hand with curries is evident, and while perhaps a little redundant, both coconut curries were incredibly rich, and very well balanced. I thought it somewhat odd that they were out of braised beef for the panang curry, as chicken breast really didn't do it for me. Similarly, I was longing for pickled greens in my khao soi, also absent, probably by design. While I appreciate a light pad thai, this was light almost to the point of being wan - likewise, the requested prik nam plaa, barely tinted amber, was so light and lacking in fish funk that it did little in the way of amping up flavours.

                                                  Overall, I was satisfied with the meal, but it's much easier finding competent panang curries than it is finding northern specialties and, in the end, I found myself yearning for those bolder flavours of the north knowing the home cuisine of the chef, so I hope they do bring some of those dishes to the menu.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Nab

                                                    i also hope they expand the menu ... my impression is that they're good at what they do, but they don't do that much. i would love something with the range of zabb elee from new york, s&i thai from boston or TAC quick from chicago.

                                                    1. re: autopi

                                                      Regionalization of Thai cuisine in North America is kinda finally happening (or is catching up to Chicago & LA) and it is a great thing. We now have a great little northern Thai place here in Boston too, autopi - check out Thai North in Brighton next time you're here.

                                                      1. re: Nab

                                                        Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely check it out when I'm back. (As an aside, I was recently back in Boston, and ate with some friends at Biryani Park, which I proposed in part after reading your write up about it. *stupendously* good meal, wish I could find something like that in TTC-accessible Toronto.)

                                                        Anyway, I do have my fingers crossed that we'll see some maturation of Thai/SEA cooking in TO. I like KSR well enough, but for a city of Toronto's size and demographics, seems like there should be a half dozen or more of them.

                                                        1. re: autopi

                                                          Oh, that's fantastic autopi - glad you enjoyed BP. Next time you're in town, let's break bread.

                                                  2. We finally tried this place on Saturday. We started with the garlic tofu and the fried squash. Both showed a deft hand with frying - ungreasy and crisp. The squash was the winner in terms of flavour - not sure I would order the tofu again (and I do love tofu). For mains we sampled the chef's pad thai and the tamarind curry. The former had really nice overtones of browning in the pan, quite unlike any other pad thai I remember. The tamarind curry was lovely, rich with a complexity of flavours. We ordered everything "medium" in terms of spice, which had a bit of a kick but nothing challenging. For dessert, we loved the tapioca - creamy with strands of coconut.

                                                    Good enough for a second try in our books.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Dr. John

                                                      I also generally love tofu but I prefer the garlic chicken to the garlic tofu - same perfect, ungreasy frying but just a bit of extra flavour to carry it off. I tend not to order the squash fritters unless we're in a larger group - good but I only like one or two and then it's too much - the fresh rolls make a nice textural combo with the garlic chicken.

                                                      1. re: peppermint pate

                                                        Thanks for the tips. We can try the fresh rolls next time and perhaps a different garlic item. I also agree that the squash can be a little overwhelming for two.

                                                    2. I'm no expert on Thai food, so I won't comment on authenticity, but I have to say I do enjoy the food here.

                                                      They also get mega bonus points for always handling my shellfish allergy well! (They either let me choose from a couple dishes, or offer to substitute oyster/other sauces with a mushroom-based sauce)

                                                      1. I know this is an old thread but I couldn't find a recent "KSR" dedicated thread so I turned to google to come across this one.

                                                        Anyway, they are normally closed on Sundays but this Sunday (21st) they are doing a special evening, reservation only, more "snack" dishes (think around $5 each from what a friend told me)

                                                        From the newsletter -

                                                        For this night only, we are going to have a special Thai small plates menu and offering some fun summery cocktails along side our regular drink menu. Plus great music all night with by DJ Schwartzvegas!

                                                        Again this is by reservation only and seats will fill up fast! If you want a fun night with great food and drinks at Khao San Road, please text 647-919-6946 to make your reservations!

                                                        1. KSR has hired a new chef, and they have a new menu.

                                                          Here is a link to the announcement:

                                                          http://khaosanroad.ca/chantana.html

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: kwass

                                                            No they haven't. They've promoted internally.
                                                            A reward for the excellent food - the weekly specials have often been spectacular.

                                                            1. re: kwass

                                                              Nice to see they've got a new menu. I'll have to try them again. On previous visits (last one about 18 months ago) the food has always been on par with Sukhothai, which is closer to me.