*SNIFF* ...that's how I felt when the Basil Thai Diner left and something called "Bangkok Poco" arose in its place. I never got to say goodbye to their uber-delicious pad see ew. Geez, I wrote "uber"... who writes that? *sigh* The delicious pad see ew of Basil Thai made me write it. Oh, well...
Despite how sad I was (not really), I have been to Bangkok Poco three times now and I have to say... I'm finding the 'good' dishes the more often I go. The first time I visited with my BFFs (Don/Sam & Shells) was when the questioning occurred:
1. "How long have you guys been here?" ...a few weeks.
2. "What kind of salad dressing is that?" ....
3. "What does Bangkok Poco really mean?" ...kidding, I didn't ask this.
When we visited, they ran out of salmon for the panang salmon dish (we ordered shrimp instead) and our server couldn't tell me what dressing was on the salad (and didn't care enough to ask). Maybe we got off the wrong foot, B.P.
And so, I gave it another try.... *long pause* and another try.
I went with my long-time friend, Pam, who I went to junior high and high school with. We often get together at least once every couple months to catch up on work, our personal lives, and "tsismis (gossip)" about everything.
Bangkok Poco has lunch specials which range from $5.00 (tofu & vegetarian) to $7.00 (shrimp, beef). The process is the same as most Thai restaurants.... you pick your protein and they create your curry, noodle, or rice dish. Every lunch entree comes with a cup of soup, entree, mixed green salad with the mystery dressing, and a Thai egg roll. Pretty good deal, in my opinion. But, is the food worth it?
We both started off with a cup of soup that had warm broth, cabbage, carrots, and a hint of ginger. It reminded me of two things: "nilaga (a Filipino beef soup sans the beef)" and "cabbage water" from the 1971 film 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'. To quote Charlie Bucket in his squeaky little voice, "I'm sick of cabbage water... it's not enough!"
For the most part, it reminded me of nilaga and I enjoyed it. The only thing it was missing was a little 'patis' (fish sauce). I don't even know what the soup is called.
Pam ordered the chicken pad thai - level 5 spicy, I believe. They put a weird pile of chopped peanuts on the corner of the plate as garnish. I tasted a bite of Pam's pad thai. Mmm... I was impressed. It was really good and I thought it was better than Basil Thai's. I enjoyed the bean sprout crunch, the texture of the noodles, and the overall flavor -- including the spice!
Pam also ordered a side of some Thai hot spice on the side, which they happily gave to her in a little dish - it was this complimentary condiment. But, I was put off that our server came by after 10 minutes and told her that they needed to take the spice away to give to another customer. Huh?
I was determined to see if the chicken pad see ew here could be as good as Basil Thai. This noodle dish came with a lot of vegetables, like bok choy, broccoli (not Chinese broccoli), cabbage, and carrots. They also sprinkled some sort of Thai spice on top, which just like the garnish of peanuts on Pam's plate, I did not understand why. The flavors were just "okay".... I mean, good, but not amazing. The flavor of the broccoli didn't taste fresh so I left those on the side and didn't bother to eat the big chunks of raw carrots.
The egg roll was hot off the fryer and had a delicious flavor. The mystery salad dressing is a pineapple dressing which goes very well with the mixed greens. Overall experience with the food and service... eh.
[third time's a charm]
After trying Pam's pad thai, I thought I'd give it ONE more chance. A couple of weeks ago, I went with my great friend, Ar, I ordered the shrimp pad thai with no spice.... DELICIOUS. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and most important, deveined correctly and thoroughly (yep, I inspect every single of them). I finally found my favorite dish here.
Plus, they didn't put that weird pile of peanuts on the plate.
They learned. :)