16 June, 2009
Restaurant Review–Thai Cafe, DurhamComments : 4 Posted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
2501 University Drive
Thai Cafe is a restaurant that I’ve read lots of good things about on Eclectic Glob of Tangential Verbosity and so has been on my gigantic list of places to try for a while. It is located across the street from Nana’s, Rockwood Filling Station and The Q Shack, all popular restaurants though I’d take Nana’s over the other two any day. In that ranking, Thai Cafe comes in second for me.
The restaurant is pretty large and moderately lit with warm, golden mustard colored walls. There are orchids and splashes of bamboo scattered about tastefully. The tablecloths resemble the boring thick brush stroke pattern found on many of my male friends’ comforters in high school. Picky, picky, I know.
First things first, I had a Mandarin Crush cocktail that I adored. Drinks are definitely a plus here. Also impressive was the presentation for each of our dishes; they were attractive in a messy way, like a purposeful pile of food. I should also note that their spice meter is accurate, which is always exciting. One chili pepper here equaled about medium heat for most Asian restaurants.
I tried their panang (red curry) with chicken and vegetables, which the menu boasts is a popular dish. It was definitely tasty but I found the sauce so creamy that it was almost as though it were a French sauce instead of a curry. The chicken was a tad dry, which I like, and the basil was yummy. I also thought the rice was cooked just right at a slightly al dente texture.
I decided to try the mango sticky rice for dessert and I was mostly pleased with it. Mango is always delicious and this came with a whole one, sliced, next to a tube of warm, sweet and salty rice. I would have preferred the rice be a bit sweeter and that the cream add more flavor to the dish but the mango–mmmm, mango.
Thai Cafe is a restaurant I will definitely check out again. My companions loved it while I mostly liked it, so I’m giving it an avocado. I suspect it may improve to a truffle once I try a few more dishes and drinks. I won’t mind trying out that theory at all.