I’ve always liked that little district south of downtown Orlando that surrounds the train station. It seems of another time, especially with the 1926 Spanish Mission Revival architecture of the Amtrak station. Situated behind the campus of Orlando Health, the street includes a few small eateries.
Add to them now Thai Stop, a corner cafe opened recently by Moo Napasorn, original owner of Napasorn Thai on Pine Street in downtown Orlando. Currently open only for lunch, Thai Stop is a welcome addition to the street with authentic tastes of Thailand.
The menu is rather extensive given the limited size of the place. You can find some new dishes to try or stay with your Thai favorites. I started a recent visit with the tom yum goong, a hot and sour soup with two firm shrimp within. The broth was a brilliant red, which gave a hint of the fiery flavor. Yet it wasn’t just hot for hot’s sake -- there were layers of tastes, and the bit of sourness played around the edges of the tongue.
For my entree I had the mussamun curry with chicken, which came served with rice molded in the shape of a heart. Although it was ordered medium-hot, as was the soup, it was not nearly as spicy as the tom yum goong. Still, it had terrific depth with a sauce that featured peanuts, potatoes and crunchy strips of onions. It was delicious over the rice.
Lunch came with a rather mundane salad of iceberg lettuce with peanut dressing. Service was pleasant.
There are about nine tables in the space, a few free standing in the front, bright from the windows on two sides, and some booths down a narrower corridor. The booths have a red and white stripe design that suggests they may have been used in an ice cream parlor at some time. (This space was previously a Latin American cafe.)
Like its neighbors, Thai Stop gets its business mainly from workers at the health center and from travelers just off the train. Amtrak was pulling in just as I finished my lunch.
This area could be a vibrant district if this country ever embraces rail travel like other parts of the world. You know, just until we all get our jet packs to fly from place to place.
Thai Stop is at 1325 Sligh Blvd., Orlando. It’s open for lunch daily. Here’s a link to thaistop.net. The phone number is 407-999-8088.