This place opened up where one of our favorite Sichuan haunts used to be (they relocated to Irvine) and I had heard the Thai fare was good. Naturally, I wanted to see for myself if they stand up to the hoards of Thai establishments that have sprouted up everywhere.
The menu is extensive and provided us with a good amount of dishes to choose from. As usual, I order the usual suspects to get a good grasp of what the rest of the menu will play out.
Crispy Tofu ($5.95) was more a dish for my son rather than a gauging taster. Deep fried tofu triangles were served with Thai sweet and our sauce and crushed peanuts. It was as simple as that. No fuss, no muss.
One of my favorite Thai appetizers is Tod Mun Pla, or Fried Fish Cake ($6.95). I love the chewy texture of the fish cakes, but when these arrived, they one, looked nothing like what I’ve been eating for decades both in Asia and here in the United States, and second, nor did they taste like them.
Tod Mun Pla has the consistency of fish cake you might be familiar with in noodle soups. The texture is hard to describe, a little like firm sponges and al dente. These were more cooked fish, mashed and then formed into patties blended with spiced string beans and Thai spices, formed into a patty and then deep fried. They were reminiscent of crab cakes rather than Tod Mun Pla. Needless to say, we didn’t finish this.
One of my deciding factors when it comes to Thai food is the Yum Nuer (beef salad) or Crying Tiger ($6.95).
The beef is usually marinated, grilled and served with a spicy citrusy tart sauce on the side. The Crying Tiger here is WAY too sweet and didn’t taste like it had been grilled — more like pan seared. Even the sauce had hints of sweetness to it so it didn’t help cut what the beef already was overpowered with. The kids liked it though.
I also like to order a curry of some sort, especially one which I cook at home, and the consensus was for Panang Chicken ($8.25).
After the sweetness of the last dish, I was quite confident this would adopt a similar pattern and I wasn’t wrong. If you like sweet Thai food, you’ll like this panang chicken.
Luckily, Eggplant Basil with Beef ($8.25) was only a tad sweet. I love eggplant and little chunks of them were stir fried with onion, bell pepper, basil in a chili garlic sauce together with beef slices. This was quite delicious I’ll have to admit!
All the dishes come with a side of rice and there is even brown rice as another option (surcharge applies). Service is good, very friendly and pretty attentive. I’d like to try them again and tell them to make my dishes less sweet. Maybe it will be just the way I like it.
22371 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630
That Crying Tiger looks NOTHING like what I normally get there Yikes! No wonder you didn’t like it. Part of what I loved about it was it was such beautifully grilled meat (I love pretty meat). The price has changed too, used to be 9.95. I haven’t been in awhile maybe they have a new chef 🙁