Tastes of Thailand in Central Texas
Reviewed by Kate Thornberry, Fri., Oct. 9, 2009
Thamnak Thai200 Buttercup Creek, Cedar Park, 512/331-3810
Monday-Thursday, 11am-3pm, 5-9:30pm; Friday, 11am-3pm, 5-10pm; Saturday, 11am-10pm; Sunday, 4-9pm
Conveniently located close to Austin Community College's Cedar Park campus, Thamnak Thai is an unassuming little place in a boring strip mall – the kind of place you might not even see if you didn't already know it was there. The interior is very basic casual-dining American: cushioned vinyl booths with honey-colored wood dividers, colonial-style chairs, and a little greenery here and there. Everything is clean and in good repair, but you would never know you were in a Thai restaurant if it weren't for the appetizing aromas coming from the kitchen.
The staff is welcoming, friendly, competent, and seem genuinely at ease. The menu is purely Thai (no sushi), and there's a good deal of variety in each major category: five soups, 11 noodle dishes, six curries, nine appetizers, and six house specialties, as well as four rice dishes and six salads.
For my appetizer I had the steamed dumplings ($4), and as soon as I saw them I knew this meal was going to be unusually good. The dumplings had been made to order, their outsides soft and tender, and their filling of pork, shrimp, bamboo, onions, mushrooms, and water chestnuts piping hot. But the clincher is the presentation: They're served floating in a light, "sweet" Thai soy sauce with micrograted carrot and plentiful fresh cilantro leaves.
Fresh herbs are integral to Thai cuisine, and my entrée, the superb pad kee mao ($8), has its share as well: Leaves of Thai sacred basil hide among the flat rice noodles and give the dish a heavenly flavor, along with stir-fried onion, broccoli, red pepper, garlic, and thinly shaved beef. The noodles used in the dish are fresh, never dried, and the flavor is outstanding. The pad kee mao isn't just good; it is the best version of this dish I have had to date, the kind of good you end up craving and driving all the way to Cedar Park to have again. This little place really impressed me; if you happen to live in the vicinity of Thamnak Thai, I have to admit I'm a little envious.
Wes Marshall, Fri., May 24, 2013
Mick Vann, Fri., May 24, 2013
Wes Marshall, Fri., May 17, 2013
Wes Marshall, Fri., May 3, 2013
Kate Thornberry, Fri., May 3, 2013
Film Review Misses Mark Please make a note not to print any more movie reviews of big action movies by Kimberley Jones. She gets ...
What's the Big Deal? I'm baffled by this obsession with Mueller. I drove through it out of curiosity and it's a suburban nightmare that ...
No Mystery in School Bond Failures How out of touch has the Chronicle become with the voting populace of this city? From the article “Bonds: Death ...
Program Is Vital Resource I am responding to your article on ACCESS News, the program by and for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The ...
Finding Rail Route Complicated Michael King, in “The Reading Railroad”, while making valuable points, seems to state that finding an initial route for urban ...
- Follow us@AustinChronicle