Sunday, March 6, 2011

Off the Menu [A Mini Review of Thai Corner Restaurant]

The restaurant was so nondescript, it has been open for six weeks and I never noticed it. If you're like me, you would have passed "Thai Corner" without a glance many times at the corner of 2nd and Sierra, next to that cheesy karaoke place. I believe it used to be a bar (or worse, a "saloon") explaining the reason why I am conditioned to gloss over it.

Since coming back from Thailand, I discovered how I like the Southern Thai cooking and have been crazing it. I have tried to relive those gastronomic moments since coming back - but unsuccessfully. Until last night.

After a riduculously ironically lackluster night at the Leo Villareal exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art, our growling stomachs led us to "Thai Corner". My date and I have both been to Thailand so we greeted our servers "Sawasdee Kha" without feeling like we're being pretentious. I wonder if that won us their favor because our meal was amazing.

We were both famished so after being seated and quickly ordering Thai teas, we ordered pork Laab for appetizers. My date ordered a side of sticky rice which you pick with your hands and dip in peaunut sauce. He's spent a bit of time in the northern part of Thailand and it's fascinating to learn that that is one of their eating nuances in that side of the country.

I had a specific entree in mind and it did not look like it was on the menu. I was craving for a dish mixing the flavors of Thai shrimp paste, fish, chiles, and vegetables stir fried in. It doesn't seem like a complex meal, but I somehow never see it in menus (nor would I attempt to cook it myself). I don't remember exactly how we did it, but we somehow managed to summon the chef/owner without coming off as annoying epicurean pricks. But what a great privlege, though - to order something off the menu!

Minutes later, my dinner arrived and the first bite said it all. It was not what I conjured up in my head - it was all that and much, much more. He made the dish with thin fried catfish fillets which the chef insisted would be the best for a dish like this. The shrimp was a little overcooked, but hey, this wasn't done in Bobby Flay's kitchen. It also had the perfect amount of shrimp paste - it was subtle yet distinct at the same time. I bit into the juicy mushrooms tossed in and I tasted the wok. It was such a divine meal. My date could attest to it - he couldn't keep his hands off it either. His cashew chicken (right?) was utter blandness compared to my dinner.

After that gastronomical overindulgence, Tom, the chef, came out and graced us with his conversation. I jumped at the perfect opportunity to ask if he would make Southern style pad thai for me the next time. The overindulgent smiling Thai said he would! I was tempted to run off my dinner in a couple of miles and come back to make room for this promising overture, but I restrained myself. There's always tomorrow.

I loved this restaurant not for its menu, but for what's not in its menu. High tens to Thai Corner and I would recommend it to anyone who would ask me my favorite Thai food hookup in the 775. Go try it while seating on a Saturday night without reservations is still a breeze, because I cannot guarantee you that will remain hush hush for much longer.

Aroi and Namaste!

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