I've always thought Pad Thai's dining room had something distinctive about it -- maybe it's the high ceilings, or the elegant tiled floors. And there's something vaguely hippie-ish about the place. I've always favored the cozy front table in the bay window. But looking around the familiar old room, with its crumbling plaster and dusty Asian knickknacks, I began to feel the first stirrings of doubt. Nothing has changed. Those tired, frayed wall hangings have probably been in the same spot on that wall for a decade. The place could use a facelift.
If the decor has stayed the same over the years, the menu has taken a turn for the worse. I'm a sucker for dishes with cute names, so I couldn't pass up the "petite rose" steamed pork dumplings. But as I took the lid off the little metal pot that the server placed in front of me, I had an Indiana Jones moment. We're not talking eyeball soup, but the dish was definitely scary-looking. It was a mass of congealed noodles with filaments of something I hoped was egg strewn across the top. I prodded it with my fork, and it broke apart into several fat dumplings. I pried one loose, popped it in my mouth, and immediately regretted it. The meat was bouncy and off-tasting, the wrapper unpleasantly gummy. Our other appetizer, a rather bland spring roll stuffed with shredded chicken, black mushrooms and cabbage, was delicious by comparison.
Entrees weren't a great improvement. Masaman curry, instead of being voluptuously creamy, was thin and oily. Grilled lemongrass chicken, a house specialty, suffered from mystery meat syndrome. I hate it when I can't identify what part of the chicken my dinner comes from. The chicken still had its rubbery skin on, and it was sitting in a pool of greasy lemongrass sauce.
Obviously, someone likes Pad Thai. The place has been around for ages. And even on a rainy Tuesday night, it was hardly empty. But the allure was entirely lost on me. This is one mystery I'm not sure I'll ever solve.
Unfortunately, I felt the same way about your review as Jennifer Zyman felt about this…
Nice article...But no mention of Tortillas first location, just down Ponce a bit, where that…
^ someone didn't read the article, but decided to comment on the pic anyway.
Thanks for sharing these great events, enjoy them if you get the chance.
Who plated that? Jackson Pollock?