Thursday, June 9, 2011

drunken noodles taste of thai

we were already anxious to find some vegetarian thai food when we got a tip from a fellow veghead (shout out to laura!) about this awesome little restaurant. we know that most city folks avoid south county eateries as a matter of habit, but this place is good enough to make you rethink your south county aversion.

mission:
drunken noodles taste of thai
south county

terrain:
drunken noodles is a small, family-owned operation with a menu a mile long that features a bunch of thai and chinese favorites, plus a few things you may not have seen before. we actually like that this place displays their specialties in lit-up photos above the register--it reminds lois of singaporean food courts (except these photos are much more appetizing and you don't have to guess at the ingredients pictured). they've decorated with a couple silkscreens and elephant carvings, but overall it's very modest. very comfortable, and with a lot of sunshine--so beware sitting in the light if you plan on eating spicy.

personnel:
our server was awesome--he was helpful and reassuring about what they could do vegetarian, and he made it pretty clear that the kitchen could be as flexible as we needed them to be. as we chatted with him after we ate, we found out that he helped our friend earlier that day when she stopped by to pick up some lunch!
 
rations:
we started with an order of thai spring rolls: fresh, soft rice paper stuffed with vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, and mint. dipped into their [assuredly vegetarian] housemade sweet and sour sauce, we cleared our plate in no time.

next we ordered the spicy thai fried rice with tofu. the kitchen accidentally forgot to add all the heat, so our server brought us a little dish of minced peppers and chili oil that we stirred into it. just that little half ounce of heat, and the rice got "thai hot" in a hurry. the green onions, garlic, egg, and bell peppers were all fresh and cooked to perfection, and the rice was seasoned beautifully throughout. the tofu is lightly coated and fried, sealing in its velvety suppleness. we would have loved to see more vegetables, but we were thankful not to see any of those itty bitty chopped frozen vegetable pieces you get in fried rice from places that don't care this much.

next, we shared the pad see eiw and, again, we were surprised by the freshness and quality of ingredients. this dish was the highlight of our day. while we would have loved to enjoy more chinese broccoli, we know that next time we'll just have to ask for a little more. the sauce had a great consistency, dressing the noodles without sopping them, and the flavor struck a lovely balance between sweet, smoky, and savory. the noodles themselves were entirely different from what we've had before. they were almost pillowy: wide and flat, but still somehow plump without being dense like udon. if this intrigues you, you better just go check them out for yourself.

we so thoroughly cleaned our plates of every last bite that our server felt compelled to comment on our gluttony well-mannered wastelessness: "good job guys, my aunt would be proud." our mamas taught us how to put away good food. we'll be back soon for more. please and thank you.

assessment:
b+

vegetarian-friendly score:
b-

Drunken Noodles Taste of Thai on Urbanspoon

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