I traipsed down to the lunch room to collect the lunch of the day. Our catered lunches are underwhelming, but free has its own quality. Today, however, the quality of free was much less than acceptable. I ate a few bites and gave up, heading out for a nice lunch-time walk to McDonalds instead. Hey, I needed the exercise.
On the way, a banner caught my eye. Advertised, was a new lunch place named “Thai Monkey Club.” The banner did not say whether monkey was on the menu, but one can always hope for authentic food. Ah yes… hope.
See, I had long ago given up expecting anything actually enticing and tasty from the typical Thai restaurant. There was that one hot pot which tasted authentic (if strange)from the ever-inconsistent Thai Traditions in Wichita, and that same restaurant actually had quite a good authentic basil chicken — if you knew to ask for it. But my Thai experiences in the main, have been disappointing — with one very notable exception in Louisville.
Thai Monkey Club is not that exception.
I entered, and was impressed by the interior – quite comfortable, with nice couches for waiting. The only wait I had was for the hostess to appear from the kitchen. The (otherwise) lack of waiting, and the attentiveness of the wait-staff was accounted-for by the near-lack of any other customers. But it’s a new place; one should not expect a crowd. In theory.
I’d hoped to have a nice basil chicken dish, but no dice. They did have 8 different kinds of finely-differentiated curry rice dishes, the usual sampling of noodle dishes (including Pad Thai, of course), and some more of this and that. The menu prices were discomforting, but I was willing to make allowances for exceptional food. After all, there was an exceptional restaurant just a mile up the hill. There could be another one here.
I ordered the Pad Prik Pao and a Thai Ice Coffee, then sat back to try repairing the Facebook installation on my iPhone. My Thai Ice Tea arrived promptly, then disappeared just as quickly, as the hostess remembered I’d ordered Coffee, not Tea. No harm, no foul. The Coffee arrived shortly thereafter, and it was quite nice — not that I’d ever had Thai Coffee before. But I liked it.
Then my appetizer arrived. I looked at it in bewilderment, as I had not ordered one. The waitress re-appeared, apologized again, and moved the disk to the correct table. Again, there were four occupied tables, one can understand the confusion. (Seriously, for a new restaurant, one should expect some logistical mix-ups – again, no big deal. They’ll get that straightened out soon enough).
Finally, just as I’d given up on Facebook mobile, my dish arrived – Pad Prik Pao, with white rice and an egg roll. I dug into it. Now, I do speak a bit of several different south-east asian languages, but I don’t know a single word of Thai. A quick google search, however, does not indicate that Pad Prik Pao translates to frozen-anonymous-asian-food-from-walmart-zapped-in-a-microwave. It did taste that way, however.
So, I had (technically) two lunches today. Neither of them had much to recommend them. However, my first bland lunch was free. My second cost twelve.ninety five.
The coffee was good.
I suppose one could say I should have ordered a spicier dish; be that as it may, I suspect I won’t return, especially given that previously-mentioned exceptional Thai restaurant, which is just a mile up the hill. That is a mile I will gladly walk each direction, for the difference.
More bemusing is the fact that Thai Monkey Club is not a one-off restaurant – indeed, it is a chain of such restaurants around the Denver area. You’d think, being a chain, they’d have got it right by now. But then, there is also Panda Express – with food no better, and locations across the country. There’s no accounting for the public’s taste, I suppose.
Thai Monkey Club had better not monkey around in this area. They need to improve their food quality and lower their prices, else the exceptional Thai restaurant a mile up the hill will eat their lunch, without even trying.
(p.s. – as of this writing, Facebook is still not working on my iPhone)