I'm starting to get a bit depressed. When A., from Portland Food Map, threw out the idea of reviewing all the Thai places in Portland I was really, really fucking excited. I was. I thought this was going to be an easy excuse to be gluttonous and consume mass amounts of Thai food on a bi-weekly basis--one that the Mrs. couldn't really argue because it was all in the good name of blogging. Now, nearly half way through the list I feel wronged, cheated and disheartened and I'm starting to get a wee bit bitter.
Oh.. Hello and Welcome to Thai-o-Rama pt. 5.
This round brought the lot of us to Mekhong Thai, neighbor to both Haggerty's Brit-Indi and the space formerly known as Mexican Lindo on outer Forest Ave. From a quick glance at their menu, it looked to be pretty straight ahead Thai with noodles, curries and other usual Thai suspects on the menu with a Pho menu offered inside the restaurant, which I saw when I stopped in there this past weekend for take out. You also learn, from checking out their website, that they have establishments in both Kennebunk and Wells.
The space, from what I saw from the bar area was pretty bare, though there was a nook by the front door that openly housed old Christmas and Halloween decorations that looked like they were bought at the Goodwill up the road. One thing that stood out in the bar was a vent system that turned on and off in seven second intervals(yes, I counted). I could not see myself dining in comfort with the constant chugging of machinery in the background and was a bit glad I was taking the meal with me. Aside from myself, only three other people were in the restaurant and one sat at the bar for several minutes before any staff came out to greet him.
By the time I made the trip back home, I was salivating and still a little buzzy from the vent noise. And, at first glances, the food was going to make everything alright.
Going with our usual safe bets, we ordered up Crab Rangoon served with a 'cocktail sauce' and Thai dumplings which are described on the menu as "Steamed wonton skin stuffed with chicken, shrimp and scallions,served with ginger sauce." The Rangoon were pretty much identical to every other batch you can find in town, though the 'cocktail sauce' served with it was an absolutely foul blend of ketchup and some chili based sauce. It was sickeningly sweet from the ketchup and whatever sauce it was blended was in complete conflict with it. It was bad and sat unused. The dumplings were ok, but I thought they would have been paired with a lighter based sauce and not the ginger heavy soy one that was found in the to go container.
The Mrs.' had the lunch portion of General Thai, their take on the Chinese dish of General Tso's. To be honest, the color of the dish kind of turned me off, so I can't speak on any aspect of it. When I asked her what she thought of it, she replied "It's ok. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there again, though."
Now, when I opened up my container of Drunken Noodles with Chicken, I was quite excited. The dish smelled wonderful and the portion was more than generous. And, on the first few bites, I thought it to be one of the best. But then the burning in my mouth took over to the point of nearly being inedible. This wasn't the feel good burn I normally associate with this dish, as it tends to be heavy with thai chilies--in fact the menu says it uses a chili paste in the dish-- but something else. After a few pokes of my fork, I realized that there didn't seem to be ANY thai chilies present whatsoever and the heat was all coming from what looked to be an insane amount of black pepper. Black f'ing pepper. Are you kidding me? Please..please tell me you're kidding me. Please?
But, there was no kidding. In my rush to eat, I had completely missed the fact that this dish looked like someone had just taken a pepper shaker and dumped the whole thing in. Truly, I wanted to cry. I wanted to call them up and tell them that this, and their ketchup dipping sauce, was a crime against Thai food and everything I loved about it. But, instead, I got up and threw it out.
And a few hours later I chewed on some Tums to stave off the awful indigestion that had set in from the food and the disappointment of the whole meal. Scratch another from the list.