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Thai me up


For lunch or dinner, a downtown Thai restaurant delights.

Greg Elwell April 9th, 2014

Thai Kitchen Cafe

327 Dean A. McGee Ave.

236-0229

What works: Top-notch pad thai, excellent stir-fry dishes, fast and friendly staff.

What needs work: Parking can be a real pain, but that’s the price of eating at Thai Kitchen Cafe.

Tip: Go at dinner if you want a larger selection. But there’s plenty to love at lunch.

Pad thai
Photo by Mark Hancock

“Do you like Thai food?” is one of the test questions police ask when you’re hooked up to a polygraph machine. It’s easy because everybody likes Thai food. If somebody says no and the machine doesn’t go crazy, something’s wrong.

Or — God help you — maybe you really don’t like Thai food. In which case you should turn in your teeth and tongue so someone more deserving can use them.

Few Thai restaurants in Oklahoma City, however, inspire such fierce devotion as Thai Kitchen Cafe, 327 Dean A. McGee Ave. It is home to an excellent lunch buffet and a menu of dishes that will be your new favorite thing shortly after you taste them.

A quick word about ambiance: It’s nonexistent.

OK. Moving on. If you go at lunch, the buffet is an excellent value. There are usually a couple of menu item dishes available, as well as a host of other favorites. Get a banana to-go. No kidding.

But if you have your heart set on something specific, it’s probably the pad thai. Why do I know it’s the pad thai? Because if you’re 99 percent of the people who know a dish at a Thai restaurant, it’s probably pad thai. Good news: Thai Kitchen makes great pad thai!

Chicken is a fine protein, but don’t fear the shrimp, especially not here. These are good-sized, well-cleaned shrimp. And shrimp, unlike chicken, tends to soak up the flavor of the dish around it.

Do you like basil? Of course you do, which is why you’re ordering the phat khee mao ($6.99 at lunch, $8.99 at dinner). Also, it’s so much fun to say.

Phat khee mao is a big stir-fry of rice noodles, onions, peppers, broccoli and Thai basil with chili paste. The broccoli is crispy tender, the noodles are meltingly soft and the basil provides an experience so delightful it will turn your taste buds into taste bros.

Next up, treat those bros to phat pak ruam mitr ($6.99 lunch, $9.99 dinner) if you’ve got some vegetarian bros who still want to bro out Thai-style. It’s a lot of vegetables stir-fried with some deep-fried tofu.

At lunch, all entrees come with either spring rolls or soup. I like soup as much as the next guy, but you want the spring rolls. Don’t bother denying it. We know. We knew the second you walked in. Because these are those perfectly delicate, greasy little spring rolls that shatter in your mouth. If you get them at dinner, they’re called popia thod and you get four for $4.99.

 
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