Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thai Café

I like Thai food.  I am not exceptionally versed in it, but I certainly have my favorites and my not so favorites in town.  I wanted to try something new, and this one is in Broad Ripple, so it would be very convenient if I liked it.  I took the BFF with me to get us out of our usual Taste rut (where we almost always seem to end up, but we just love it so). 
So the décor of this place is a little strange.  The tables are pretty close together (although there were not a lot of other people there) and there was a strange blue hue over the back half of the restaurant which is where they first seated us, until I asked to be moved into natural light near the windows (high maintenance right?).  But seriously, it’s all part of the experience and the blueness is sort of strange.  Not sure if it was from the big TV or what, but it was kind of off-putting (you can still sort of see it in the pictures).
The first thing they brought us was the soup that came with our lunches.  I actually quite liked it.  It was really just a broth—there was no actual pieces of anything in it (ok, maybe some cilantro)—but it had a slight sour taste (lime maybe?) and quite a bit of spiciness to it. You could see little bits of chili oil on top. Especially with the little fried noodles they served on the side thrown in. It was a tasty little combo and cleared the sinuses quite well.  I don’t think BFF was as impressed though, she thought it was sort of boring.
We wanted to get an appetizer just to try something more than our lunch plates so we went with the Tao Hoo Tod, or deep fried tofu served with homemade peanut sauce ($6.95).  This dish was a disappointment for me.  I actually tend to like tofu, but it was so dry, and while it was described as deep fried, there was no discernable flavor in the barely crisp edges at all.  The peanut sauce wasn’t bad—it was sorely needed with that tofu, although later I saw that they also offer an option of a sweet chili sauce, which I wish I had known about, even though I don’t think it would have really saved it.  This dish would be a skip for me next time.  I will say, it was quite plentiful and would be very easy to share with several people.
For my lunch, I had the lunch special of drunken noodles ($7.95).  These were long flat rice noodles stir fried with lots of veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, onions, bean sprouts, carrots,  and pea shoots), meat (I had chicken), eggs, sweet soy sauce and basil.  This is the kind of flavor combo I like about Thai food—the slightly sweet soy with a fairly decent basil flavoring and just a bit of lime.  Unfortunately, the chicken bits suffered the fate of so many Asian stir fries and were a bit tough.  There was actually at least as much, if not more, of the veggies then there were of the noodles which was interesting as well.   I would put it in the middle of the pack as far as Thai noodle dishes I have had.   You certainly are getting a good portion of veggies with this dish though, if that is what you are looking for.
The service was fine.  But I wouldn’t call it overly friendly. And there never was more than one other table in there while we were there, although there were a few carry outs being picked up. I did like the way they asked you to tell them how hot you wanted your food on a scale of 1-10, and they seemed to do a decent job of meeting my expectation of my requested spice level—seems like “medium” at a lot of Thai restaurants can be shockingly spicy.   But since it has been awhile since I have done a Thai review, I am throwing the question out there, which restaurant has the best Thai food in town?
Thai Café
1041 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indy  46220
317/722-1008

Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon

13 comments:

  1. Thai Taste in Castleton is good - especially like their cold spring rolls and green curries.

    Sawasdee on 86th street is also very good. I've had the roasted duck curry there and enjoyed it.

    BTW - I am with you on the soup at Thai Cafe'. It doesn't need any protein in it; it is a good way to start a meal and "cleanse the palate."

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  2. Uggh, how I wish there was really good Thai to be found in Indy. Thai Cafe was our first try when we moved here, as it was then just down the street. But it has never impressed, on multiple attempts.

    We always try Tom Kha, and every local version we've had is either sickeningly sweet or full of badly overcooked protein.

    Indy should be a city that can pull this off!

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  3. I used to have a Thai dining club, and we went to about 10 local places to eat before we disbanded.

    Thai Cafe is on of my personal favorites. Their vegetables are not overcooked like many other places, and they roast their own peppers in house so you can really taste the difference. They are smoky.

    A lot of people will tell you Siam Square is the best. The food is definitely good but sometimes I wonder if it is popular because it is a little Americanized; the menu is in perfect English, the interior is in trendy colors, etc. I have gotten some pretty rude service there which is a turn off.

    Jasmine Thai, Thai Orchid and Sawaadee are good. I don't care for Thai Taste, Thai Papaya, or Thai Lanna.

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  4. Thai Orchid!! The service is great and the food is excellent.

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  5. We just tried Thai Orchid at 82nd/I-69 on Monday. We actually intended to go to Thai Taste but didn't realize they were closed on Mondays (they don't have a website, which is a shame). Thai Orchid serves a small shredded cabbage salad before the meal with crumbled peanuts and a sweet vinegar dressing. I had the drunken noodles with tofu "medium hot." It was really tasty and accurately spiced. Everyone in our party seemed pleased with their order and we will definitely return. I need to try a curry next so I can really compare!

    I like Thai Taste and appreciate that they have a vegetarian buffet the first Thursday of every month. Last time I was there, I had one of the curries and they also had unique ice cream flavors.

    Siam Square is usually our go-to Thai place, though. Hopefully that doesn't make me sound like I only go to places that are trendy and have perfect English, as Sarah suggests. I like to think I am a bit more open-minded than that. We live in Northern Indianapolis and sometimes it's just nice to be downtown and away from all the malls, so maybe that's part of the reason? Regardless, I always enjoy my meal at Siam Square.

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  6. I think I've been to every Thai place in the Indianapolis area and Thai Spice on County Line Road is hands down my favorite. The owner is actually the sister of the owner of Siam Square, but I think Thai Spice is SO much better.

    They give you a complementary appetizer of the fried tofu which i like. You're right though, "medium" can sometimes be pretty intense.

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  7. "Thaied Up" in Montgomery OHDecember 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Interested in the comments as I have a favorite Thai here in Cincinnati. I love the cuisine and the curries which are a lot different, and lighter, than some Indian ones.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!

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  8. Thai Taste on the northside and Thai Spice on the southside are the best! Mmm, now I want Thai for lunch...

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  9. Sometimes trying a new cuisine can be intimidating. It's not wrong to enjoy servers and a menu with good English, they just make the experience have broader appeal. So, if Siam Square's American polish gets more people to try new flavors, I'm all for it! I'd rather have cool, independent ethnic places all over Indy than another Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse!

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  10. thanks everyone for your suggestions and discussions. I actually quite like Siam Square as well, although I haven't been to a few of the other recommendations. I find the discussion interesting about how good the English is on menus---I actually thought about this the other day at a restaurant which had really bad spelling/English. Wondering if some people would consider this more "authentic" if the writers were obviously not native English speakers....

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  11. Thai Spice, hands down. Siam Square and Jasmine Thai are my distant 2nds.

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  12. Love the Siam Square. Been to Sawasdee once but was unimpressed. I think I've also visited Thai Cafe, but can't quite remember--possible unimpressionable. Maybe I need to try Thai Spice (if I ever find myself on the south side) and Thai Orchid now, too.

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  13. I haven't been to Thai Spice but it came highly recommended from a co-worker who grew up in the Bay area and lived in Hawaii for a short time (for whatever that's worth!).

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