Rod Dee Chowdown Report
Eight guests attended last night's chowdown at Rod Dee in Porter Square. We enjoyed a total of six dishes. I will start by giving a summary of what we ate (English names only since I forgot to write down the Thai names) and post a link to the pictures of each dish (thanks tatsu!!!)
Pork Belly with Chinese Broccoli
Crab Omelet with Spicy Sauce
Boat Noodle Soup
Duck Red Curry
The winner of the night for me was the Boat Noodle Soup. The soup featured a rich, meaty flavorful broth, rice noodles and pieces of beef and tendon. I probably wouldn't have ordered this on my own but I'm so happy I tried it. Another memorable dish, the pork belly boasted a crispy skin with a layer of chewy fat and meat. It paired nicely with the greens. Despite ordering everything country style and "thai spicy," nothing was all that spicy. Condiments at the table helped in that area. All in all the dinner was a worthwhile experience and I'm glad that I planned it.
Here's a link to tatsu's pictures of the food. Other hounds please chime in and express your thoughts!
Pad Kow Moo Krob is the Crispy Pork Belly with Chinese Broccoli. It is a very common dish I believe, I thought their rendition was pretty good.
The Crab Omelet was something I tried to custom order, but it didn't turn out right. Should of stuck with a soft shell crab dish.
Boat Noodle Soup sure looked good, but I did not try it.
Papaya Salad was your standard bearer, refreshing, not too sweet, not too sour.
(Chili?) Duck in Red Curry tasted fine, Thai mini eggplants were spied in it.
My favorite was the cold/room temp Seafood Salad called "Yum Taley". Mixed seafood, dressed in a galangal - lime - shallot - tamarind like dressing garnished with plenty of mint leaves. It's actually one of my favorite Thai dishes, I order this frequently down the street at Tamarind House.
We ordered a whole fish, Pla Rad Pik, but it never came. We were pretty full.
A nice chowdown for only 12 dollars for each person, tip included!
1790 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140
I went back last night for carrying. Thanks to Luther, I had the pad ga pow with crispy pork belly. The crispy pork belly is amazingly delicious--I haven't had pig that way since I was in New Orleans a very long time ago (though New Kam Fong's crispy pig is similar if you don't get the annoying meaty bits.) It turns out they can make it with both gai LAN and basil; next time I'm planning to have it that way.
After a conversation with the owner, and discussion of the fact that Chowhounds are reporting that even food ordered 'extra spicy' was coming out mild to medium, I was hoping the dish would actually be hot. But unsurprisingly it wasn't--a pleasant mild warm, but certainly not hot. She reported that on one occasion, someone in Brookline called the health depatment because he didn't recognize Thai basil and thought he had gotten something else in his food, so it's understandable they are reluctant to translate their menu and offer real food to all their customers, but it's still dismaying. And, she refused to give me more than two small (and half-filled) containers of the fish sauce and pepper condiment, which is good enough to drink straight. I'll certainly go back for the crispy pork, though I wish they were willing to actually give me what I want.
First of all, thanks to chefematician for arranging this chowdown, my wife and I had a great time.
As for the food, I thought the Boat Noodle Soup, the seafood salad, the pork belly and the papaya salad were very good. The Red Curry Duck was flavorful too but it did seem like a pretty standard Thai curry preparation (i.e. spicy but at Americanized levels).
The omelet was fine with the spicy sauce on it, but I'm not even sure my portion had any crab (real or imitation) in it.
All in all, a great experience for the price and chance to socialize with other CHers.
We used the Thai menu that was translated on a previous thread. No one in our party could read the Thai menu without that translation so we were thankful to have it. I didn't see a specials board when we were there. The Rod Dee staff was very patient and helpful with regards to preparing dishes that weren't necessarily on the English menu.
As for the crab omelet I'm going to go out on a limb and say it *wasn't* real crab. Now I only tasted a small piece of it and I'd already put the spicy sauce on it so I could have missed the crab flavor but I don't think so. I know that some of my companions might be able to speak more intelligently on the subject of the omelet than I can. I was so enamored with the boat noodles that I didn't really give the omelet the attention it may have deserved.
Sounds terrific. One question, though; several of these items (including the Boat Noodle Soup and the pork belly) aren't on their online menu -- were they daily specials, or items you have to just 'know about' by having a dining companion that can read the Thai language menu?