The West Side doesn’t have many good, independent restaurants.
There. I said it.
And in talking with a bunch of West Siders last night, they agree. We struggled to come up with really good restaurants (and they’ve all lived there for years). Sure, you have standbys like Sebastian’s, Price Hill Chili and Maury’s Tiny Cove. You have some pretty good places, like Vitor’s and Primavista. But there’s very little “ethnic” food, and the trend is more greasy spoon than innovative (or even exotic) cuisine. “The only restaurant anyone thinks of over here is Price Hill Chili. For a nice meal, everyone just drives to the East Side,” one said. “Even our Applebee’s stinks.” Ouch. When I lived there, I remember being so frustrated by the fact that I had to drive out of the West Side to get anything that wasn’t a double decker or chili– that is, until Thai Taste came in.
Thai Taste specializes in Thai food, of course, but also has a sushi bar and a limited Chinese and Vietnamese menu. Their sushi is good– that I can recall– but their standouts are their Thai dishes. They have the standards (pad thai, pad see ew, thai spicy noodles, etc.) as well as Thai desserts. The atmosphere isn’t anything special– it’s a hole-in-the-wall with pan-Asian decor– but it really doesn’t matter since the food is very good.
I happened to be over on the West Side last night, and realized that I really ought to revisit Thai Taste. On my way over, I called and ordered two dishes: pad see ew and pad thai, and was told it would be ready in 15 minutes. It took me about five minutes to get there, and was ready about five minutes after I arrived. Ten minutes isn’t bad for carryout.
For $25, I got two dishes– pad see ew with shrimp and pad thai with chicken, both at a level 4 spiciness (their scale goes from 1-10). The pad see ew was good, but not the best I’ve ever had. The noodles were a little sticky (probably not from the 15 minute drive home) and the vegetables were mostly broccoli; I prefer the Chinese-style broccoli to the big, thick chunks of broccoli in the dish, but overall, the flavor was good. I think I could probably go up to a 5 on their spiciness scale.
The pad thai, however, is fantastic. It’s a little on the sweet side, which is counteracted by the spice (again, I could have gone up to a 5), and the noodles are the perfect texture and consistency. The chicken is all white meat and sliced thinly. It’s quite a bit more moist than most pad thai I’ve had (I’ll have to add a little bit more sauce when I make my own– I like that consistency). It’s one of my favorite pad thais in town.
Portion sizes are huge– two dishes easily fed two people with plenty of leftovers. They also offer tofu, pork and beef as the protein in their noodle dishes for an extra charge. Thai Taste has been around for about five years and seems to do a steady business– I hope other restaurant owners can see the success Thai Taste has had and choose to open in the same area. Maybe Indian? Residents, what would you like to see?