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Thai this on for size

As evident by both the exterior and the interior, Thai House is certainly not a fine-dining establishment.   White and mint-green walls are mostly bare.  A television hanging from the corner of the cramped dining area broadcasts news in what I humbly suspect is Thai.  Ripped plastic tablecloths cover flimsy tables that are encircled with equally-as-cheap chairs.  Tabletops are adorned with tiny vases full of fake pink and yellow roses.   At least the silverware is clean.

Our stomachs will be pleased by the end of the meal despite a rocky beginning.  Chicken satay is rubbery and difficult to chew.  Generic peanut sauce doesn’t help the protein, but a variety of house made hot sauces and chili vinegars do.  Lemongrass-galangal soup with shrimp (Tom Yan Goong) delivers on flavor; an enticing combination of sweet-and-sour offers layers of complex flavors that ensure we drain the bowl.  An easy way to judge a Thai restaurant is by its Pad Thai, and Thai House’s is good.  Not innovative or out-of-this-world, but good.  Rice noodles are coated with a sweet-and-savory combination of crushed peanuts, tamarind paste, scallions and eggs and topped with crisp bean sprouts.  Shrimp are cooked until succulent and juicy, but for $4 more than its chicken or beef counterpart I expected more than exactly four shrimp.  Chicken Kapow is the highlight of our meal.  Tender slices of chicken and sautéed mushrooms are coated in a glossy well-balanced sauce of chili, garlic and fresh basil, served with sticky rice to sop up the tasty mess.  It is a shame that we are so full by the end of the meal because much of the menu sounds appealing.  I guess we will have to come back to try crispy Peking duck rolls, pineapple fried rice and peanut curry.

The food might be worth the return trip, in part due to the restaurant’s proximity to my office, but the service certainly is not.  Our waiter seemed less than pleased to be serving us and got annoyed when we asked for another minute to go over the menu.  We were uncomfortable asking questions about individual dishes, something that servers should be used to when speaking with customers.  His demeanor may have been due to the fact that the restaurant closes from 2:30-4:30 p.m. while we were still eating at 2:20 p.m., a fact that he was sure to point out to us.  It is a good thing that Thai House offers delivery!

Thai House is located at 8369 Snouffer School Rd in Gaithersburg.  Lunch starts at $8.95, dinner at $10.95.

by Courtney Shay

MoCoVox Food Critic

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