Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Try at Modern Thai

I really want to like Modern Thai.  I visited once about a year ago, drawn in by a promotion with the now defunct GoPago.  I had one of my favorites, pad se ew, and wasn't impressed.  It wasn't awful, but it wasn't that good.  I quickly forgot about the restaurant.

Then, I won a contest with, and had some credits to spend on takeout or delivery.  I don't normally do much research on takeout food, so I was a bit stumped.  As I looked at my options, I was again drawn in by Modern Thai, as they had decent reviews, and the menu sounded good.

So, I returned.  Alas, my visit went about the way of my first.  Everything was pretty mediocre, and I don't think I'll return.  I really wanted to like it though, as it is a cute place, and seems very family run.
Thai Iced Tea with Tapioca. $4.25.
I've recently been on a bubble tea craze.  I can't seem to get enough of it.  But ... my body hasn't been such a fan of soy lately (sorry, TMI, I know), so I've been looking for alternatives, since most bubble tea shops use non-dairy creamer, which is soy based.  So when I saw that Modern Thai allowed you to add tapioca to their Thai iced tea, I was all in.  I could still get a cold, creamy, sweet drink with tapioca (yes, this alone is what made me decide to order from Modern Thai, not the actual food).

I love Thai iced tea, particularly on a hot day, so it sounded perfect.  The tea itself was good, not too sweet, flavorful, pretty standard.  But, there wasn't nearly enough ice, and it melted within seconds, leaving me with not only no ice, but also with a barely lukewarm drink.  If I'd stayed to eat in the restaurant, I would have requested more ice.  I almost considered turning around and asking for more, but I was already a few blocks away before I realized how badly I needed it.

But I got this for the tapioca, not the tea itself.  There was a generous amount.  But ... far too soft.  And given the fact that the tea was warm, they stayed really soft.  I imagine if the drink had more ice in it, they may have firmed up a bit, and would have been fine.  Or, perhaps they were fine before the hot tea was added.  Either way, they were just soft and mushy, like the ones from Little Garden and I was highly disappointed.

Overall, decent tea, but the lack of ice and the mushy boba made it a non-winner.  I wouldn't get again.  $4.25 is a slightly high price for a drink too, even with tapioca (extra $1 for that).  I ordered on Seamless, but amusingly, the drink was listed as $3.95 on Eat24.  Not sure why the prices are different, and in this case it was a small amount, but read on for more crazy pricing ...
Coconut Shrimp.  $9.50.
A few weeks ago, I had coconut shrimp at an event, and I loved them.  I've been craving them ever since.  So, when I saw coconut shrimp on the menu, I knew what I was ordering.  Described as "deep-fried marinated shrimp coated with shredded coconut and served with sesame soy sauce."

So, I have a thing for wanting my food hot and fresh.  This is why I never get delivery.  Or takeout really.  But since I had credits on to use up, I had no choice.  So I set my pickup time, and arrived 20 minutes early.  I assumed this would mean that I'd be there the moment it came out of the kitchen, so it would be hot and fresh.  Unfortunately, when I arrived, my order was already ready, and it was lukewarm.  Sigh.

The order came as 6 shrimp, each on a skewer.  When I opened the box, all I could smell was oil.  They were sooo greasy.  I know they were deep fried, but they really didn't seem drained well enough. The oil flavor took over everything.  I know there was crispy coconut on the outside, but all I could taste was oil.  And, not good oil.  Quite the fail.

I did appreciate that the box had a hole poked in the lid so the steam would escape and the outside would remain crisp.  And the shrimp weren't rubbery or anything.  But the oil ... yeah.

The sauce was a simple sesame soy sauce, it was fine, but what I really wanted was sweet chili sauce.  This dish was more disappointing than the bubble tea, but partially my own fault, as I went into it with hopes that it would be something else.

$9.50 for 6 shrimp seemed a bit high, but like the tea, the price was lower on Eat24, only $8.50.  Why a full dollar cheaper there?  Does Eat24 take less of a cut perhaps?  I haven't seen inconsistent pricing like this before.  Anyway, wouldn't get again.
Black Sweet Rice with Mango. $7.
And finally, dessert.

You know by now that I'm a dessert girl.  And at Thai restaurants, my favorite is always mango with sticky rice.

It is a bit funny, as I don't like rice generally.  But sticky rice?  I love it.

The rice was still a little warm, nice and sticky.  Like Bang San Thai, they use a black rice rather than white, which I always like a bit more.  Decent enough.  Sprinkled on top with a generous amount of sesame seeds.

My mango half seemed like it had been freshly sliced, but it wasn't that ripe or flavorful.  Not that I expect good mango in the US anyway.

There was a tiny, tiny amount of coconut milk sauce.  You can see in the photo how little there was, and how it was very thin and watery.  This was the most disappointing aspect, as I usually love that component in my mango sticky rice desserts.

So, overall, best dish I've had from Modern Thai, but certainly not remarkable, and not worth returning for.  $7 price was a little high for the portion, and like everything else, it was inconstantly cheaper on Eat24, $6.50.  Bang San Thai's pretty equal version was only $4 and Thai House 530's much larger portion was also $7, for comparison.
Modern Thai on Urbanspoon
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