Saturday, November 04, 2006

Review: Thai Basil

We'd driven my Thai Basil in the restaurant cluster next to Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree several times, always saying we had to try it out in our fruitless search to find decent Thai food in Colorado. (Sadly, the only decent place I've found to date went under. It's sort of the story of good food around here.) During our convention in Denver we had a free night for dinner, and decided to go give it a try.

It was Saturday night, so we had a short wait. On the way in, you can't miss the two intricately carved wooden benches on either side of the lobby. Not only are the comfortable to sit on, they are smooth and interesting to touch. I've certainly waited in less comfortable spaces. Our table was right up against another one of the many carvings around the room, a large Buddha. We rubbed his belly for good luck. It couldn't hurt.

To be fair, Thai Basil doesn't pretend to be a Thai restaurant; it bills itself as Asian fusion. There are plenty of Thai dishes, but there are also Japanese sushi and traditional Chinese dishes.

As I've mentioned before, my acid test of a Thai restaurant is their Tom Kha Gai, coconut chicken soup. Thai Basil doesn't call theirs Tom Kha Gai, but it's similar enough that we both ordered bowls. The broth was flavorful and smooth, the chicken almost impossibly tender. However the mushrooms were almost raw and there were not the bunches of inedibles that give the soup its depth of flavor.

I ordered the chicken with Thai basil, my husband ordered the Panang beef. (I don't remember exactly what my dish was called as the restaurant does not seem to have a website.) As usual in the Chinese and Thai restaurants we've gone to before, we expected to share. I hope it's not a new trend, but each of our dishes was served individually, with rice on the plate, as one might expect with a lunch special. The plate itself was one of the more visually beautiful I've ever seen at a restaurant, a square of glass with metallics sandwiched underneath.

The Panang beef was in a separate clay pot with a sterno burner underneath - which had not been lit. A bit of carelessness, but if you're going to use a burner, you might as well light it.

Portions were generous and flavors were typically Thai, but they simply weren't spicy enough. I should have known this was the case when not only did our server not ask us how spicy we wanted our food, but there was also a bottle of Sriracha on the table.

While the meal was reasonably good and reasonably priced, it was ultimately another disappointment. I'm still looking for a good Thai restaurant that reliably produces the flavors and heat that I'm grew so addicted to in California. I would eat at Thai Basil again, but I won't make a special trip there.

(Date of visit: October 28, 2006)


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