Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Delivery from Navin Thai Restaurant

I don't order food for delivery very often.  I'm really just too much of a snob for it, and I know it.  I want my food hot and fresh.  I get annoyed when it sits at the pass in a restaurant for more than a few minutes.  Delivery, even if done under optimal conditions, will always be fairly lukewarm.  But ... sometimes delivery is what you need.

One night, we had friends over, and no one felt up for going out to dinner, and we didn't really have anything on hand to feed the group.  So, delivery it was.

We opted for Thai food, as it generally holds up decently for delivery, and everyone seemed happy with that style of cuisine.  Since we never order delivery, we don't have a standard go to, so just took to cross referencing places from delivery.com with Yelp, looking for something reasonable.  Navin Thai was one of the higher rated Thai choices that delivered to us (although it only had 3.5 stars on Yelp).

I found everything unremarkable, which, I guess is an endorsement of sorts.  There was nothing clearly awful about anything we got, and everyone else seemed happy enough, but I wouldn't order from Navin Thai again.

Do you have a recommendation for delivery, for when the situation calls for it?
Clear Labeling Each Dish.
I opened the delivery bag, and immediately noted the clear writing on each container.  Large block letters, easy to read.  Points to Navin Thai for the nice labeling.
Curry Contained Within a Bag.
And further points for putting the curry inside a second plastic bag, just in case there was a leak (there was not).  (Minus one point for "veggy" curry?)

The food was also somehow still hot when it arrived, particularly the curry.  While it took an hour to receive our food after we ordered, the food clearly wasn't sitting somewhere getting cold, which I appreciated.

The delivery person was also friendly and polite.  No issues with service.
Appetizer: Thai Beef Jerky. $7.50.
"Dried and deep-fried marinated beef strips."

To start, we ordered Thai Beef Jerky.  None of us really knew what to expect, but we needed one more item to make the delivery minimum, and Ojan and I had fond memories of the ridiculously tasty beef jerky-like bits that topped the papaya salad at our favorite Thai restaurant in Sydney (Sailor's Thai Caneen, if you are ever there.  Still my favorite Thai food anywhere).

It is hard to see in the photo, but in the box is little chunks of ridiculously chewy, dry, jerky.  It wasn't sweetened or candied like our precious Sailor's Thai jerky.  In fact, it didn't taste like anything.  Which I guess is why it came with a cup of sauce on the side, slightly spicy.

None of us really liked this.  Ojan's comment: "It just needs some flavor.  It is totally fine otherwise", which I didn't really agree with as I found it too chewy and dry, but, to each his own.

The portion also seemed pretty small for $7.50.  Maybe just because it only filled about 30% of the box it came in, it just looked meager?
Vegetarian Panang Curry. Medium. $8.95.
"Tofu and mixed vegetables, string beans, bell peppers, and basil in panang."

For one main dish, we picked a curry, since curry holds up well for delivery.  It was still hot when it arrived, so this was a good decision.

The tofu was firm triangles, and the "mixed vegetables" were carrots and broccoli.  The curry also had string beans, basil, and bell peppers in assorted colors.  The vegetables were all a bit overcooked and mushy.  Because Ojan can't handle spicy food, we ordered medium, and it was not spicy at all, certainly mild, not medium.  I'd normally go for spicy, as I like the spice to compliment the sweeter panang sauce.  The curry sauce was fine, but lacking any dimension, it was just sweet.

The portion was pretty large, the container about twice as deep as most deli containers, so the $8.95 price tag was very reasonable.  (Amusingly, when we first selected the panang curry from the regular curry section of the menu, and put tofu as our protein, it showed a price of $9.95.  When we got to the vegetarian section of the menu, we saw that it was listed for $8.95, so we added that one instead.  I'm pretty sure there was absolutely no difference in the two items, just a pricing glitch with vegetarian vs regular?).
Pad See Ew, Chicken. $8.95.
"Flat rice noodle with broccoli, egg, and chicken in black bean sauce."

For our second entree choice, we went for a noodle dish, my standard, Pad Se Ew.

Our protein options were tofu, beef, pork, chicken, or shrimp ($2 extra), but the others wanted chicken, so I went for it, knowing I could just eat around it since I don't like chicken and didn't particularly want one of the other options anyway.  The others all remarked that the chicken was well cooked, not dried out, and lacking any cartilage (unlike other delivery we'd had a few weeks prior).

The dish was unremarkable, fairly bland.  I wished it had more sauce.

The primary ingredient was noodles.  We all wished for more broccoli.  We joked that we should have just asked to have extra broccoli added to this dish, with a surcharge, to meet the delivery minimum instead of ordering the jerky.   The noodles were a bit mushy, but I expect that for delivery.  I appreciated the fact that it had both American broccoli florets, and Chinese broccoli, although, again, not much.  There was a very small amount of egg, plus the chicken.  I think the version from Modern Thai is a bit better, the noodles certainly were better there, and they had more generous veggies inside, but, it also lacked much flavor.

One of the other diners noticed that the curry and pad see ew on her plate combined to be tastier mixed together, and advocated for smothering the pad see ew in curry.  Everyone quickly agreed that this was the best approach, since both dishes were fairly bland on their own.
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