The Thai Thai group -- the people who brought you Thai Thais I through IV -- now brings you Thai Thai V, to a ParkAvenue address, no less.
My only previous experience with the Thai Thais was the one in Cape Canaveral -- I can’t recall if it’s Thai Thai II or Thai Thai III. All I know is that the more you say the various names and numbers the sillier you feel.
The meal I had at the Cape Canaveral TT was good. But keep in mind that when we’re talking about Cape Canaveral restaurants we’re looking at a relatively smaller survey of choices. That’s part of the reason I feel I can recommend the Thai Thai (pick a number) in Canaveral. But here, especially on Park Avenue, there are many choice, including, for Thai, the estimable Orchid. The meal I had recently at Thai Thai V was thoroughly ho-hum. Not a thing about it that would make me want to go back.
I wonder how much of that can be attributed to a lack of focus in the menu. For a restaurant that has multiple Thais in its name, this restaurant seems to give equal weight to Japanese dishes and sushi. Were they to ask for my recommendation -- and for the record, they have not -- I would advise them to choose one cuisine and make it the best they could.
I might suggest they choose the Japanese section of the menu (screws up the name, but there you go). The appetizer of mixed tempura was the best, relatively speaking, item I sampled. The batter was crisp but just a tad too greasy.
The pad Thai, which thankfully isn’t called pad Thai Thai, was mundane, and no condiments of peanuts and spices were offered for me and my guest to goose up the flavor a bit. The masaman with beef was missing the multiple layers of flavoring one expects to find in a curry, and, incidentally, it had not the least bit of spiciness. Because it was lunch, the entrees were served with a spring roll, a small, Stogie-sized roll with, as far as I could tell, only cabbage inside.
TTV takes over the space previously occupied by Shiki Sushi. The decor seems to have gotten more spartan, but I could be mistaken on that. Suffice to say there isn’t anything to recommend in terms of atmosphere, either.
Park Avenue is enjoying a resurgence as a dining destination. With more than 20 restaurants in the span of just a few blocks, it may even surpass Restaurant Row in terms of dining establishment density (and nary a chain among them). With that many options -- and out of that 20 I can heartily recommend at least 15 -- you have to offer more than average to get the public’s attention. A clever name just won’t cut it.
Thai Thai V is at 525 Park Ave. S., Winter Park. It is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Thai Thai V does not have its own Web site, but this link will take you to the one for Thai Thai IV. The phone number in Winter Park is 321-972-9840.