I have eaten at every Thai restaurant around town and this always ranks #1. I tend to order their Drunken Noodles Chicken which is my favorite. I get it “3 stars” spicy but have had it up to 5. Oh they’ll make it spicy! I was tearing up. The Pad Thai is the best I’ve ever had. I also recommend their Pad Prik Kra Paw Chicken which is an amazing dish with the most intoxicating smell. For an appetizer, I recommend the Satay chicken with the peanut sauce. The chicken can be a little tough sometimes but the flavor makes up for it. A lot of people I know love the Heaven Beef but it’s just not my favorite. I’ve also had their red curry which is top notch. The Kra Paw Catfish is a favorite of friends who can’t quit it to try something else. Try this place against any other Thai place in town and see where you go back to.
The food is excellent across the board but it just seems a bit overpriced. The portion sizes are a little small. Problem is that I can never escape this place for less than $16 for lunch. Maybe it’s because I have to pay for my chips and salsa? I really haven’t had a dish I didn’t love so go for what looks good because it will be. I’ll keep going back because it is that good but I’d go more if it weren’t so expensive.
LUNCH: Their burger is really good. I had mine with Habanero Cheddar. And they’ll cook it anyway you want (even rare) so if you’re a wild man like myself (see pic), you’ll love this place. Any sides are an added extra. The fries are the medium-sized/long, limp, and greasy. Personally, I liked them. They’re the grab-a-group-and-dip kind. No fancy dips here, just ketchup. They also have a decent Cuban sandwich.
The music is a fine selection of hits from the alternative/indy rock bands. I’ve heard Phantogram, the White Stripes, Interpol, and the Sonic Youth.
During nice weather, they leave the door open. This lets in flies. If you’re the type that freaks out about flies, then only go when it’s raining.
AFTER HOURS: This is the place to go and see the latest in hipster apparel which generally looks like beards, flannel, and jeans. The beer is good though with a good variety of microbrews. It can get pretty packed in here but the service is pretty quick.
Definitely a place I’ll return to. Look for me there!
I’ve been here numerous times for lunch and have tried a lot of the menu. Service is usually very prompt, friendly and responsive. Staff is dressed in hipster chic as is the norm in downtown Raleigh. It can get a little loud in there since it is an open room.
The kitchen is shared with Chuck’s so if both places are packed, your food might take a little longer but honestly, I’ve never waited more than 5 mins.
Fried Chicken – very good. They drizzle a little bit of honey on it. Recommended. I wish they would add another piece.
Chicken Pot Pie – very good, but you know it must be 10000 calories. Good portion. Nevertheless, highly recommended.
Fish Fry – good but very good with hot sauce. Ask for some.
Meatloaf – very good. Tasted better than expected (I think most places screw up meatloaf)
Snap Beans – good, not my favorite though.
Summer Squash (seasonal) – mushy. Might as well have mashed potatoes.
Mac-n-Cheese – this is a favorite. Probably the best side on the menu so far.
Yukon potatoes – very good
I’ve only had one dessert, a hummingbird cake, which was ice cold and a bit dry. Not quite frozen but close! Do yourself a favor and go next door to Chuck’s for a milkshake.
Ok, the place is beautiful inside – bamboo, good lighting, very clean, new restaurant smell. Outside, well, it’s next to Tir Na Nog so what can you do.
Staff is very friendly, met the owner, the mixologist, all easy people to talk to.
Now the food:
I started with the Fresh Summer Rolls.
Very good! It’s filled with cucumber, vermicelli, shrimp, mint, etc. All the right stuff. The peanut sauce side was the dark thick kind which I’ve had at other places which is good. They cut it up to sushi roll size. Together, it would equal about 1 big roll. There’s only one problem with the dish: it cost $6.50. I usually get 2 rolls for $4.50. Nevertheless, very good.
Next up was the Shrimp Pad Thai. They have “mild, medium, or Laotian hot”. I went all in for the hottest they got!
And first I thought “Did I order the appetizer?” but in actuality, it was plenty. This had everything mixed up in it and it was gooood. The shrimp were tiny and mixed in well. It had carrot, bean sprouts, peanuts, not much egg that I could see, chives, etc. The only problem I had was that on a scale of one to ten in heat, I was at something like a three! Very flavorful, but not going to cut it. I asked for a spice tray and they promptly delivered: it included hoisin sauce, fish sauce, soy, chili oil and sugar (apparently it’s a common added spice). Once I spiced it up (about 10 scoops of chili oil), it was just right. Very good. Better than my favorite Sawasdee? I’ll have to eat it a few more times before I can deliver that title. I brought up their Pad Thai and they were quick to say “Oh yeah, it’s really good over there!”
Well, the chef got wind of my disappointment in the heat and made me this: Papaya salad
Well, this slaw type of salad was pretty mild except for the cut raw red chilies sprinkled throughout. Once I hit those, it was a good burn. This had a good flavor that was very unique. I can’t recommend it but I might get it again. And I can’t complain, it was free! Not sure where the papaya was though.
Lastly, they gave me a shot of their Laotian Iced Coffee:
It was very very good and gave me enough energy to roll out of the restaurant. I would love a full cup one day.
So in the end, this place is pretty good.