Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thai Beer Restaurant

Thai Beer Restaurant is a local Thai food Salem, Oregon. Thai Beer recently won first place for "Best Thai Food" in the Salem Mid-Valley for 2011.

Photo courtesy of
When I ask people what dish they think of first when I say "Thai food," most say Pad Thai, a traditional stir-fried rice noodle dish combined with tamarind juice, fish sauce, and various vegetables, topped with peanuts and some lime.

Thai Beer's lunch menu is a simplified version of their dinner menu. Fewer choices, yes, but many of the classics are still there.

The Pad Thai here is great. The noodles are properly cooked, the vegetables are fresh and, when combined with the temperature-hot flavored noodles, works well for me. I also liked putting lime on my Pad Thai to give another dimension to the dish. Finally, the peanuts give even more depth on the dish, a nice crunch.

But what really sets Thai Beer apart from other Thai food places in the area: their ability to make any dish extra spicy. Last year, I ordered an Extra Spicy Combination Seafood Pad Pak (mixed vegetables with crab claws, scallops, shrimp, and calamari). the chef must have overheard my order and sensed some cockiness in my voice, because he really let me have it on the spice. The food was delicious -- and I was calling for extra napkins and water to extinguish the flames in my mouth.

Over time, however, either their extra hot spice option has toned down, or my body has simply gotten used to the intense heat.

The Thai-style BBQ chicken (Gai Yang) is good, but not breathtaking.

I love the Tom Yum soup, a spicy soup with vegetables (most of them Asian-influenced). I prefer the seafood Tom Yum soup here. Seafood is my weakness, perhaps.

The salad roll...beware. It's the hoisin and peanut sauce that gives this dish the flavor. The salad roll itself is just about flavorless. Still, it's a decently healthy option on the menu.

I did not like the Som Tum salad. The dressing -- which apparently could not be put on the side -- was too sour for my taste buds.

I do have issues with the decor of the restaurant. It feels old and dark, which really prevents me from ever wanting to dine in. At least I can just get the food to go. Thai Orchid, on the other hand, has great decor, but their food is not spicy to me (not even at extra hot) and can be pretty bland (see my upcoming review on that).

In summary, I've had several good experiences at Thai Beer. However, I feel like a couple of the dishes are not as successful as others. Kudos to Thai Beer for knowing how to bring the spice; that's really the only reason why I would even consider ordering from here again. I just wouldn't necessarily rate it the best Thai food ever. 5.75/10

No comments:

Post a Comment