October 10, 2010
Probably the best meal of my life was at a street cafe in Bangkok. It cost less than five bucks, including beers, and, outside of the steamed hermit-crab things (which were, not surprisingly, actually not so delicious), it was all just standard Thai fare. The spices were spot-on, the ingredients were fresh, and it was so good that I just about forgot about that coup from earlier in the day. The point is that ordinary Thai food done well can be quite extraordinary.
And that’s why Baan-Thai is great. They don’t do anything fancy, the service is slow and occasionally borderline surly, but they do the Thai basics really well. So well, in fact, that I have been going there about once a week for two years now and I have rarely strayed from my five go-to dishes: pad se ew, pad thai, green curry, tom yum, and tom ka. The ingredients, the spices, and preparation will be reminiscent of all the Thai food you have had before, so it won’t change your whole world view and give you a new perception of what life, love, and green curry are supposed to be. No, you will just eat it and think, “Man, this is really good green curry.” Plus, it’s cheap and the portions are large.
The pad se ew (a thicker noodle stir-fried with broccoli, carrots, egg, and your choice of meat) and the curries are probably what they do best. I find the noodle to be key with pad se ew and Baan-Thai’s achieves the proper “chewy but not too chewy” designation. I really quite love their green curry, which is spices + thai basil + eggplant + jasmine rice perfection, but be warned that you don’t get nearly enough rice if you order take-out. Their curries (and really any of the traditional spicy dishes) tend to be more spicy than your average Thai restaurant, so you may want to ask them to dial it down a bit if you can’t handle the heat.
By Ryan Delatorre
- Awesome thai food
- Reasonable price
- Large portions
- Slower than average service
- Downtown parking
For more information:University District in the Southwest
1924 SW Broadway