Monday, February 12, 2007
Restaurant Review: Tamarind Thai Cuisine
I'm not reviewing a new restaurant, correct. But as Time magazine's 2006 Man of the Year, I think I have license to do whatever the hell I want.
Look, I'm no Thai food expert, I'm not a restaurant critic, I defer to others such as our Teresa Gubbins for restaurant knowledge. But I've gotta mouth like everyone else, and I'm passing along this review of a restaurant that's been open for about a year. It's not a new restaurant, correct. But as Time magazine's 2006 Man of the Year, I think I have license to do whatever the hell I want.
The other night, my wife and I visited one of the tastiest restaurants in Plano. Tamarind Thai Cuisine (corner of W. Spring Creek Parkway and Coit Road) rose from the ashes of the now-closed Krua Thai off LBJ and Abrams Rd.
When we pulled up about 6 p.m. on Saturday, we followed a few people through the door. They and we were only ones in the place, and even though I'd heard good things about it, I wondered if we picked a stinker. Minutes later, others started rolling in. By 6:30 the place was almost full. Tamarind Thai isn't huge, I counted more than 35 eaters.
I like spicy food, and I thank the Thai people for their contribution to the wonderful world of spicy things. I practice Scoville Scale tolerance by eating a raw habanero every now and then. Because of this, if my mouth was Ric Flair and the rest of me was Randy Savage, my mouth would crush me like it was the WCW World Heavyweight Championship match at SuperBrawl VI. Fortunately, my mouth has to sit there and take it.
The waitress asked how spicy I wanted mine and I countered that question by asking her about the degrees of pain. I'm going by memory here, I think she said there was no spicy, a little spicy, medium, hot and spicy hot. I may be confusing the first two as separate categories. There could be four but I don't pay attention to the pansy levels. I thought about the hottest choice, but I didn't know what the restaurant considered ridiculously hot. At one Thai place a few years ago I chose the hottest level and I think they stir-fried it in pure capsaicin. So I chose Curry (red) on Land with chicken, regular hot. Liz Liz ordered yellow curry with tofu, medium hot. Entrees come with an option of beef, chicken, tofu or seafood, which is dandy when one person (me) is a meat-loving meat lover and the other (Liz) is a meat-hating meat hater.
Curry on Land was terrific. As Liz speculated, the "on Land" part appears to mean it's less like a soup, as her yellow curry dish was, although hers was not terribly soupy. The hotness of mine was not blazing, I could have gone up a notch. The chicken was a tad bit overcooked. Not too overcooked. In a typical gun-to-head scenario, I'd say about 9 percent overcooked. I'm just trying to add some valid criticism, because about every three or four bites I kept saying, "man, this is incredible" with my stuffed mouth. Bad manners, yes. But like I said, I'm Time's Man of the Year.
This was our first visit to Tamarind Thai, so I don't know what anything else tastes like. Based on the crowd size, I'm guessing it's good. Here's the menu.
The clientele was mixed. Many wore jeans. A few folks were dressed nicer, and several eaters brought their own bottle of wine. On the wall hung colorful artwork. I don't know if they were originals or prints. My art expertise ranks up there with that of Thai food, but it's a pleasant atmosphere in which to dine. On the other hand, they also had a couple TVs with the Pro Bowl on, and when I ordered a soft drink refill, the waitress went back to the bar, pulled out a can, popped it open, strolled back to our table and set it there. Some fancy pants diners might freak out over the TVs and open can, but I left my fancy pants at home.
What would I rate the place? I don't know about a number system. But the first thing I ask myself when personally rating a restaurant is, would I go back again? Yes. And I would suggest Time magazine seriously consider recognizing the restaurant owner in 2007.
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