Tastes of Thailand in Central Texas
Reviewed by Rachel Feit, Fri., Oct. 9, 2009
Thai Spoon3720 Gattis School Rd. #400, 733-2233
Monday-Thursday, 11am-2pm, 5-9pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-2pm, 5-10pm; Sunday, 5-9pm
Encouraged by the success of their first Thai restaurant in Orlando, Nikki Pantade and her family moved to Round Rock three years ago and opened Thai Spoon. Located in the Forest Commons shopping center, Thai Spoon has an elegant, modern ambience to match the equally chic food presentation. Pot stickers and spring rolls are artfully fanned around small salads and sauces, and curries daintily pool around tight mounds of rice. Flavors, however, can be hit or miss. A fish cake appetizer (todd mun: $3.95, lunch; $5.95, dinner) is nicely spiced with lemongrass and accompanied by a zingy cucumber and peanut salad, though I suspect the fish cake comes from a package rather than being prepared on site. Same goes for the fried chicken dumplings ($5.95) that we gobbled: tasty, but seemingly prepackaged.
After inquiring from our waitress which dishes she thought were best, we ordered the panang curry with beef ($6.95, lunch; $10.95, dinner) and the phad prik pow with shrimp ($7.95, lunch; $11.95, dinner). Coconut milk overpowers the sunshine-orange panang curry to the point of rendering it gloopy. The sauce is way too sweet and has none of the lemongrass, lime, or musty fish-sauce taste so essential to panang. The phad prik pow, a sauce of roasted chilies, fish sauce, and green onions, is similarly too sugary, though more successful in overall flavor. Both dishes are dismally cheap on the meats, plumped up instead by overly generous helpings of undercooked bell peppers and onions. The choices expand during dinner to include a variety of fish and duck dishes, as well as light salads. The shredded green papaya salad ($7.95), fried shrimp in sweet and spicy chile sauce ($13.95, dinner only), whole fish in chile sauce (market price, dinner only), and Thai Spoon Crown (shrimp on a bed of steamed broccoli; $13.95, dinner only) are among the more popular offerings.
Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter
If you want to submit a recipe, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org