Alameda - Casual Thai - House Royale Cuisine
Really Short Review: Great lunch place on Park in Alameda for a plate of Pad Thai and a Thai Ice Tea.
The longer bit:
Let me start by saying that there is nothing royal about the House of Royale Cuisine (HRC). It’s family-style Thai, served fresh. It’s my favorite funky lunch joint in Alameda because I know what I’m going to get, every time.
I love Thai food. At its best, it’s one of the world’s great cuisines, but more importantly, when I’m in a place I don’t know and I am presented with a bunch of strip-mall choices (fast food, Chinese, Korean-owned sushi, etc.), I go for the Thai joint. It might not be great, but odds are good that I’ll be fed a good, tasty, nutritious meal. HRC fits into that profile of being much better than you expect at a modest price.
HRC is in what was a slot-car track, now moved next door. The chairs are the folding type and the décor is pretty much what was left from the track days. It’s not a romantic getaway, in other words. To me it puts the “home” in homely. You feel like you are being welcomed into someone else’s passion and offered a meal to go with it.
I found this place a couple of years ago because my buddy and I had a 60’s flashback and got into racing slot-cars. Back then, Harry ran the track, his wife ran the kitchen and his kids served the food and put cars back on the track. Now Harry has moved down the block and Mom has the entire space to run the restaurant.
HRC offers a complete menu that I cheerfully ignore, because the chicken and shrimp pad Thai is so tasty. Crispy veggies are served on the side (sprouts, etc.) and you incorporate them into the noodles at the table, insuring they retain their snap. There’s plenty of biggish shrimp (no tails!) and the noodles are saturated with that yummy peanut sauce, without making a sticky mess.
Food: 7.5 (Order the pad Thai, it's the bomb)
Service: 6 (the kids get the order right, but it feels a tad amateur hour)
Price: Along with a big-gulp sized Thai iced tea, the bill was $11 and change.
Ambiance: 5 (it's a 7 if you like racing cars)
1307 Park Street
I love this place (though I've been referring to it as "Homeroom Racing Cafe). For me, it's always about the chicken with green beans, and the pad kee mow. HRC and Emilia's in Berkeley are on my regular rotation because the consistency you get with only one person cooking all the time means you never get a disappointing meal.
Have enjoyed their Thai burger -- not on the menu & I don't recall the price; however, that (includes some fried potato wedges) plus a calamari salad and 2 Thai coffees/teas were about $20 without tip. I just wish the bun had been warmed a bit. BYOB allowed, possibly even encouraged.
Regarding service -- friendly & willing but definitely untrained server. Hopefully improvement will come with more experience . . we all have to get our start somewhere - (:^)
Larger sized portions available for family-style sharing.
Also, I was amazed that almost a third of the space could be devoted to "private party space" by the hour with couches, flat panel TVs, more tables & chairs. Bring your own food or order theirs.