Thai Terrace – Authentic and Tasty.

July 11, 2011

“Damn man, my whole face is on fire!” I remember thinking halfway through my Thai-Spicy Pad See Ew… Across the street from a certain “world famous” Tampa bachelor party destination lies Thai Terrace. A small restaurant (perhaps 10-12 tables), adorned in the standard Thai flare of gold-accented pretty much everything, buddhist statues, ornate wooden wall coverings, and the obligatory bowl of stale mints from parts unknown. The staff was friendly with the typical lost-in-translation sort of service you get at authentic mom & pop Asian restaurants- you hope they knew what it was you just asked for, and hopefully at least one of the people in your group can figure out what it was that they just said to you. Oh and the food is pretty darn good too, did I mention that? We started out with a couple apps, our friend got the “soft spring roll”, containing primarily foliage and some decent sized bifurcated shrimp but impressed us with it’s pleasantly refreshing mint kick from the leaves spattered about inside. The salty and sweet soy dipping sauce was thick, inky, and exactly what you’d want to dip a roll like this into. We were feeling more adventurous so we tried the “Tapioca Balls” which were soft tapioca nuggets wrapped around pickled daikon and steamed. They weren’t bad but I wouldn’t get them again, a bit nutty (from the toasted chopped peanut topping) but otherwise bland and very soft and sticky. The daikon inside wasn’t crunchy at all, maybe the lack of texture was what sent the dish south for me. The Pad See Ew on the other hand was some of the better I’ve had, and damn if they didn’t actually make it Thai Spicy! I mean, I understand that I’m as not-Asian as a gaijin can possibly be, but I always order food “Thai Spicy” at Thai restaurants (hell I even order it Thai Spicy at Mexican restaurants just to get a funny reaction) and 95% of them probably think I can’t handle it so it comes out medium hot at best. Back on subject the Pad See Ew was a great mix of flavors, a richness in the sauce, a crunch from the veggies (and the squid that I ordered it with), an herbal note from the basil in it, and the star of the dish, the noodles. Those wide yet thin noodles do such a great job of catching all of the little chunky umami-eqsue components of the sauce. Awesome dish. Our friend ordered Pumpkin Basil Chicken, which certainly didn’t disappoint. It came with tender chunks of chicken, pumpkin, basil, carrots, onions, broccoli, peppers, etc, and a small mound of rice that did a perfect job of soaking up the sauce. Only had a couple bites, but was very happy I had them! On a side note, if you’re a fan of microbrewed beer there’s an amazing brewery called Cigar City a stone throw away from Thai Terrace, one of their hoppy IPA’s would do an excellent job of cutting some of that spice, and grabbing some takeout on the way over to the CCB tasting room would make for a pretty killer meal at a pretty inexpensive price. Our whole bill for 2 apps and 2 entrees was around $30 with tax.

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