Thai Express

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Thai Express exterior

The little outparcel building in front of the Costco in the Millenia area is becoming quite the United Nations of fast fooders. There’s a Tijuana Flats representing Mexico (and the U.S. via Texas), a Sus Hi Eatstation for Japan, and now a Thai Express, representing Canada.

Well, yes, Thailand, too. But Thai Express is a Canadian-born franchise, which you might deduce from the Quebecois company’s Facebook page, which is in Frenchand the Millenia location is its first in Florida.

When I first walked into the compact space I was a bit concerned that this was going to be a Thai version of an assemblage restaurant. But it’s not. It simply offers basic Thai dishes quickly, just as the name suggests.

Mai Thai

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Maithai interior

Downtown Orlando's central business district now has three Thai restaurants, and two are within a block of each other.

Mai Thai recently took over the space at 22 E. Pine St. vacated when Artisan’s Table moved to Church Street. That puts it just a hop, skip and a tom kha gai away from Napasorn, at 56 E. Pine and close to Thai Cafe on Magnolia Avenue.

Mai Thai wants to be known as an Asian fusion restaurant, though like everything else in life wanting it doesn’t make it so. About the only thing fusionesque on the menu is the Duck Tacos, but I’ll come back to those in a moment.

MT apparently also wants to be both a restaurant and a nightclub. Apparently, after dinner service the tables and chairs are moved out of the dining room to clear way for a dance floor. That might make one wonder how serious a restaurant it wants to be, fusion or otherwise.

Bangkok Thai Passion

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Bangkok Thai exterior

While I sat waiting for my food at Bangkok Thai Passion at one of only two occupied tables, a woman came rushing through the front door. She loudly expressed relief that the restaurant was open — she had tried to call in an order but the restaurant’s phone was not working. She apparently feared the worst.

I guess we all have different things that stir our passion. My experience at the Ocoee restaurant was more frigid. At least that’s what I felt from my server, who seemed desperate to be anywhere doing anything other than where and what she was. Clearly, waiting tables is not her passion. (This was in contrast to the genuinely warm welcome I had from someone I assume to be an owner when I first came through the door.)

Thai Island

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Thai Island ext

Today's review of Thai Island includes a right wing conspiracy. Or maybe it's left wing. Wings are definitely involved.

Thai Island is at the corner of Semoran Boulevard and Michigan Street. It sits next to Wingstop, a Buffalo wings chain, and a couple of doors down from Red Wing Shoes.

And as it turns out my favorite Thai appetizer, Angel Wing, is on Thai Island's menu. Angel wing is a chicken wing that has had the bones -- the humerus and the radius bones, as it were -- removed, with the resulting void filled with chopped chicken meat and clear noodles. The result resembles more of a drumstick. Why don't they just stuff a drumstick? you ask. I don't know, I'm just winging it here.

Mee Thai

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Mee Thai interior

First we had Mai Bistro, now we have Mee Thai. Is there a trend in ego centric eateries?

I'll leave that discussion to Freud, and I certainly won't comment on a restaurant whose name is uncomfortably similar to a contemporary hashtag movement.

Let's just be be straightforward here. Mee Thai is a pleasant little cafe on Lee Road serving simple Thai favorites. If there is one thing that sets Mee Thai apart from other Thai restaurants in the area, it's that it specifies that it offers the cuisine of the Isan region of Thailand, or Esan, as they spell it here. Frankly, I didn't spot anything on the menu that wouldn't be available at other Thai restaurants. And it would have been a good opportunity for a restaurant specializing in Isan cuisine to offer a current local favorite -- sticky rice is a staple of that region. That dish is not on the menu.

Orchid Thai Lake Mary

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Orchid exterior

I've always enjoyed Orchid Thai on Park Avenue in Winter Park, so I was glad to learn of a new location in Lake Mary. Unfortunately, it's just not the same.

Of course it was bound to be different. The Winter Park restaurant has the ambience of Park Avenue and the lovely outdoor dining. In fact, I couldn't imagine going to the original Orchid Thai and choosing to dine in the small, a bit-too-cramped dining room.

There is no outside dining at the Lake Mary OT. Even if there were it probably wouldn't be very pleasant looking at the parking lot of the strip mall it's located in.

Krungthep Tea Time

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Krungthep interior

Krungthep Tea Time isn’t your typical tearoom.

Or maybe it is and I’m just not familiar with them any more. My perception of a tearoom is set in the days of doilies and lace, quilted cozies and delicate tea cups with rose patterns and handles so small you couldn’t pick one up without raising your pinkie.

At Krungthep there are no doilies, no tablecloths of any kind. The floor is bare concrete, and tea is served in big honkin’ glass mugs.

Thailicious

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Thailicious soup

I ended up having a pleasant meal at Thailicious in Longwood. It didn’t seem promising when I walked through the door and stood waiting to be greeted. A waiter breezed right by me without so much as a how do you do. But almost as quickly as he whooshed by, another young man stepped right up and offered me the kind of warm welcome a visitor to a new place should receive. He showed me to a a small table at a banquette.

I was less encouraged when it became clear that the first fellow would be my server, and I wish I could say that he warmed up a bit. But clearly something was distracting him.

Oudom

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Oudom interior

 

 Oudom, a Thai and sushi restaurant, is the latest to take over the Graze/Prickly Pear/ Lotus/Mingos space in the Sanctuary condominium building in downtown Orlando. Five restaurants in seven years isn't too bad, is it? 

Maybe Thai will be the magic sauce for this place. Or curry. Or whatever. A restaurant in this location needs to count on frequent vists from neighbors. A menu with a lower price point can help in that regard.

Oudom Tom Kha

I began my lunch visit with a bowl of the Tom Yum soup, a hot-and-sour broth with some large chunks of tomatoes, mushrooms and shrimp, tails removed, thank you. I also was served a salad, apparently part of my entree order. The salad was a bit of a soggy sort.

I was heartened a bit when someone came by and left a set of chopsticks on my table after I had ordered my Pad Thai with chicken. The Thais don't use chopsticks except when eating noodle dishes, which is odd since noodles are the hardest thing to eat with chopsticks. I'm wondering now if the young fellow, who was not my server, just thought I had ordered sushi. I did not see chopsticks on the only other occupied table, even though some of the guests there were eating noodles.

And speaking of there being only one other occupied table in the restaurant, it was extra annoying that my server asked if I wanted to keep my fork when she took my salad away. "If that's my only option," I replied, placing it on the white butcher paper that topped the tablecloth.

Oudom pad thai

My Pad Thai was fine and had a good spiciness to it. (I had ordered it medium spicy so that I could gauge; ask for Thai hot if you really like the heat. I appreciated, but did not need, the tray of condiments, including crushed peanuts and pepper flakes, that were offered with the dish.

Food did not come out at a speedy pace. Something to keep in mind if you visit on a limited lunch break.

Oudom is at 100 S. Eola Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-849-3739.

 

 

Pop Thai

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Pop Thai Interior

I don’t know why, but every time I hear the name Pop Thai, I think about lemongrass flavored pastries that you heat up in a toaster.

But no, Pop Thai is the name of a new restaurant in the Mills 50 district that replaced the three or so years old Yum-mi Sandwiches shop.