Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Modern Thai

I've posted many times about GoPago, an application that allows you to order food in advance via your phone.  Since you do it before you arrive, you skip the lines and dealing with payment, and just get your food and go (go-pay-go, get it?).  They've run a number of campaigns with free credits in the system, and I've used these as inspiration to try out places I've never been before.  Between GoPago and LevelUp (a payment via phone app), I've discovered a bunch of new places in San Francisco.

Anyway, after living in Sydney for a few months, one cuisine I'm always craving, and still haven't found a good place for in San Francisco, is Thai.  I've had some decent enough meals, but still haven't found a place that really makes me want to go back.  I've kinda stopped trying new places, but I found that I'm willing to be more risky when there is less actual "cost" associated with trying a place.  If I hate it, and I haven't spent money on it, it somehow feels less bad.  And if I love it, awesome, I can add another place to my go-to list!  So, armed with Ojan and his GoPago credits, we set out to try a new Thai restaurant.  I researched every single Thai place listed in the app, and settled on Modern Thai.

We placed our order via Ojan's phone when we were about 10 minutes away, thinking that would be about the right amount of time for them to prepare the order.  I got nervous when we didn't get back the "Your order has been received" message.  Were they actually open?  It was New Year's Eve day after all, and many places were closed, and I'd run into problems in the past on holidays when GoPago systems were online, but businesses were closed.  By the time we reached the restaurant, we still hadn't received a confirmation, but their open sign was illuminated.  We walked in, and I said we'd placed an order via GoPago.  The cashier/bartender/server then went over to a machine, which was covered up.  It wasn't making the customary dinging noise.  She said she hadn't noticed the order come in.  Hmm, perhaps they don't get many GoPago orders?  This rather defeated the purpose of using GoPago, since we now had to wait.  She also had us sign a receipt, which I've never had to do before.  I'm glad this wasn't my first time using GoPago, as this experience turned out to be more annoying than beneficial.  I promised Ojan this wasn't normal.

Since we had to wait, I took the opportunity to take in the restaurant.  It was brightly decorated with lime green walls.  The bathroom and tables seemed clean enough.  Tables had little vases of fresh flowers, a surprising touch.  There were cloth tablecloths, but they were covered with plastic covers.  A paper napkin and lightweight fork were laid out for each place setting.  It was fairly empty, and the single server was running the entire place.  They also seemed to do a decent takeout business.

My favorite part was the music playing lightly in the background: piano versions of pop songs.  They had me with a classical version of "My Heart Will Go On".  I spent my entire wait looking forward to hearing what would come on next.

I'm glad I tried another Thai restaurant in San Francisco, but sadly, Modern Thai is going to go the way of pretty much everywhere else I've tried, filed away in the list of places I've been, and would go back to if someone really wanted to, but isn't remarkable enough to really warrant a return visit.  Still searching for good thai ...
Pad Se Ew, chicken: Stir fried flat rice noodles, egg, garlic, broccoli,  Chinese broccoli, carrots, and black bean sauce.  $9.
Since I was sharing with Ojan, and he can't have spicy food, we went for something that can be good even when not spicy: Pad Se Ew.  And since it was his credits we were using, I had him pick the protein.  We had the choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu (or shrimp for $2 more).  I'm not crazy about any of these, and he picked chicken.

I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but sometime in the past year, I've kinda started hating chicken.  I know, I know, chicken is so inoffensive, what is there to hate?  Sure, no one is crazy about chicken, but who hates it? Me.  I just can't stand its chicken-y taste.  Anyway, this chicken was good enough for chicken, tender white meat, but ugh, it was chicken.  I can't blame Modern Thai for this though.

For veggies there were unremarkable ripple cut carrots, broccoli chunks with longish stems, and a few tiny bits of Chinese broccoli.  I would have preferred no American broccoli and more Chinese brocoli, and perhaps some cabbage as well, but the veggies were decent enough, well cooked with the American broccoli and carrots being slightly al dente, and the Chinese broccoli nicely wilted.

The noodles were also decently executed, not too fried, not too mushy, not clumped together.  Not remarkable, but not bad.  There was also a bit of fried egg, which I liked, it wasn't too tough.

The sauce was on the weak side, without much flavor.  It was also a bit greasy.

It did arrive piping hot, clearly freshly made.  Bonus points for that.

Overall, this was fine, nothing to really complain about, but not great either.  The portion was quite sizable, and two of us couldn't even finish it.  For $9, it was a very generous serving.
Modern Thai on Urbanspoon
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