Friday, September 23, 2011

Bangkok Thai

Friday afternoons are a tricky business in New Orleans. You either work through lunch so you can leave a touch early or maybe you just blow off the whole afternoon. Not me though, but maybe you do. Last Friday, Lindsay had skipped lunch for some reason or another and I had to run an errand after work. All of this added up to at 5:45 both of us deciding to just go grab a quick bite to eat before going home.

While driving around town, we went through the usual litany of "Where do you want to go?" before settling on Bangkok Thai. It had been a while since we ate there and I convinced Lindsay to go by reminding her they don't hold back with the heat. We should have kept driving.

The problem with bad meals is sometimes you see it from a mile away, but you still can't stop the collision course with bad meals. We walked into Bangkok right before 6 and were the only diners in the joint. Sign #1. There was no beer, the establishment having lost its liquor license. Sign #2. The menu was four pages too long. Sign #3. Yet we still placed our order and hoped we had been wrong.

First came finger size twigs of shrimp "marinated in house special spices", wrapped in thin sheets of crunch, and deep fried. These would have been a hit on an airplane. The other appetizer would test our patience at being polite. Crispy, fried tofu, which despite the name, was not. We only ordered it to see what Bloggle disowned the pig for. Obviously, it was not this dish. Flaccid, cubes of splintering tofu with less flavor than a couch cushion came with two dipping sauces: a sweet one and a peanut sauce. The peanut sauce was not half bad, comparatively. The sweet one would have made a hummingbird hyper.

Lindsay ordered a vegetable red curry which came out with the color and aroma of a wet golden retriever. I've had fresher vegetables at a McDonalds. My entree arrived a few moments later adorned with grey shingles of chicken topped with a gritty peanut sauce. Thank God I asked for it spicy. The broccoli ringing the plate was limp and soggy, yet still cold in the middle of the stalk. That broccoli was disproving Einstein's Theory of Relativity before my very eyes.

This is obviously a restaurant that is both trying to do too much but doing not nearly enough. I am sure they can cook, but they don't seem to want to do that. With its location and accessibility to the youth of Loyola and Tulane, now tuned into food more than a decade ago, Bangkok Thai should be cooking the food they cook for themselves. The authentic foods that one reads about in breathless expressions - spicy, fragrant, steaming, etc... Or at the very least competent versions of the Thai cuisine classics. They should not be frying pre-made snacks from a factory and pouring ready to eat sauces over flavorless proteins.

We quickly paid the check, which even though the meal was regrettable, was tame. On the way home, we developed a new rule: never again.

Bangkok Thai - Double Bogey
Don't worry, you don't need the address.


Big Onion said...

I ate there once. Years ago, when I was playing a regular gig at the Neutral Ground, this large arrogant man approached me and said he had a TV show reviewing restaurants. He liked to get local talent to play in the middle of the show, so he asked if I wanted to join him. No pay, but I'd get a free meal out of it. (He also told me I had to sing, since he didn't like just instrumental stuff on his show. I bet he would've told Picasso, "You're using too much blue.")

We went there to eat (can't remember if it was before or after) and he ordered just about one of everything on the menu. It was so long ago I can't remember what I ate, and seemed to have blocked most of it from my mind, but I remember wishing I could scoot on over to that nearby sushi restaurant ... or heck, even the daquiri place across the street.

I thought about going there with K at some point, but I don't think we will.

bloggle said...

Should have gone next door and gotten a beer, unless they have a beer corkage.

My internal steering device has always shielded me from this place, although I've never known why. I thank you for falling on the sword.

jshushan said...

The exception that proves the rule. "The Dean" also doesn't really like it and calls it the weakest Thai place in the area. I'm not sure I've ever seen you guys and "The Dean" on the same page.

Kevin said...

Why, why, why don't we have several dozen serviceable-to-outstanding Thai restaurants sprinkled in every neighborhood throughout New Orleans, like they do in so many other cities? (Yes, I know, we have a few, but not many.)

Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York all have the same relationship to inexpensive, good Thai restaurants that New Orleans does to Vietnamese restaurants.

The Mid-City food district around Canal and Carrollton - to take one example - has about seven places to get pizza and not one Thai restaurant. Someone's missing out on a business opportunity.

Jody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jody said...

I grew up in the GNOA and never liked Thai food. I moved to the DC area after college and learned to love it. I moved back, and learned to avoid it again. New Orleans does a lot of things well. Thai is not one of them.

I have only tried Basil Leaf, Bangkok Thai and Singha here, but all just left me wanting for that Delmarva Thai. Singha is probably the best of the 3.

Rene said...


Give Banana Blossom on Gene Ducote's Mazda on the West Bank a try. It is very good.

Celeste said...

In the same neighborhood as nasy old Bangkok Thai, you can get passable Thai at Chill Out Cafe. Who can resist a thai place that also serves waffles?

Anonymous said...

And you can also go to Singha Thai right next door to Chill Out Cafe. Instead of a sprinkle, you have a little clump there on Maple Street.