Thai Food + BYOB = Not Always a Winning Combination?!?! (Thai Garden)

19 Jul

I am conflicted even as I write this review.  You see, I like Thai Garden for lunch.  For $8, Thai Garden’s lunch special gets you an entree, an eggroll, and soup or salad.  I’d been there a couple of times for lunch and had a noodle or rice dish each time (specifically the pad kee mao and the southern fried rice).  Each time the entree was above average with an excellent tom yum soup and a decent egg roll.  For $8, it is definitely one of the better lunch options close to my work.

When my parents came to town to help us on the last leg of the big home improvement project items (namely laminate flooring and staining bathroom cabinets), I thought taking them to Thai Garden for a BYOB dinner would be perfect.  Somehow things didn’t turn out that way, even a couple of glasses of riesling didn’t help.

We ordered dinner family style and skipped the rice/noodle dishes in favor of dishes that would complement the jasmine rice.  We started off with the tom yum soup, which seemed thicker and sweeter than it had been on my previous visits, but nonetheless had that signature hot and sour combination I love.

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The entrees followed quickly: chicken basil, papaya salad, and bass with a jungle curry sauce. 

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The chicken basil dish, with noticeably chewy chunks of chicken, only covered about half the serving plate.  The other half?  Steamed/boiled bland filler vegetable.  It’s not completely uncommon to see these cabbage/carrot/broccoli additions on your plate, but they shouldn’t be dominating the plate.  After all, the dish is called basil chicken, not steamed broccoli, right?  The papaya salad was merely average, a bit too saucy for my taste, not serving as the refreshing break between the two meat dishes as I had hoped it to be. 

The bass was a special that night, and I am 99% sure the waitress said it was in a jungle curry sauce.  Well, it didn’t taste like it.  In fact, the sauce was identical to the basil sauce except a little thicker with a hint of dry heat (red chilis, perhaps?).  This dish, with a rather sad-sized piece of bass drowning in a pool of filler veggies and gelatinous brown sauce, was definitely not worth the $19.99 price tag.

Needless to say we didn’t stick around for dessert.

So now I am confused.  I thought I liked Thai Garden, particularly for the bargain prices at lunch.  Now I am not so sure.  Maybe they just do rice/noodle dishes better than the rest of the menu?  Maybe the kitchen was just having an off night?

At least the service was superbly attentive that night, as it has been on my previous visits.

Rating: 3 / 5 (I’m willing to give it another shot)

Thai Garden
6090 Campbell Rd
Dallas, TX 75248

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