Monday, November 7, 2011

Phuket Thai Restaurant [4/5]


After a couple of false starts, the hubby and I finally made it over to Phuket to try their rendition of Thai food. Located in Providence, the price point and atmosphere make it clear that they are catering to a more upscale crowd (think business lunches and date nights) but I still found the wording of their menu a bit pretentious. Everything, it seemed, was "experienced with" something as opposed to being served with it.

We eventually decided to share the "experience" of an order of spring rolls, while I opted for the Thai BBQ chicken and my hubby selected the Drunken Beef Noodle dish.


The spring rolls consisted mainly of a crispy, piping hot wrapper. The interior contained thin strands of cabbage; the real flavor provided by the accompanying sauce, a thin sweet then spicy number sprinkled with chili pepper flakes, which offered a light burn that built with every bite. The carrot garnish was pretty but tasteless, reminding me of the flavorless baby carrots sold by the bag.

Our meals came up beautifully plated and generously portioned.


My BBQ chicken was falling off the bone tender with a sweet, nuanced flavor throughout the meat. The thigh was a little dry towards the bottom but the leg was absolutely perfect. The bbq sauce reminded me of the flavors in tiki masla, though I couldn't put my finger on exactly which spice was giving me the association.

The sticky, starchy, white rice provided a lovely balance to the chicken. The vegetables, however, were sadly lacking. The carrots were barely cooked and suffered from the same blandness that I had noted in the garnish. The baby corn, while making for a striking presentation, was unremarkable and had a vaguely metallic taste. The broccoli was flavorless, with the stems well cooked, but the heads slightly overcooked. All of which would have likely gone unremarked on if they had been served in a dish which tossed them in a sauce. But left to stand on their own, they fell short.

The thai coleslaw was made up of strands of carrot, cabbage, and what seemed to be bok choy in a light, sweet vinegar. Chunks of tomato added color. The vinegar was fresh, the sweetness unexpected, and the flavor dominated the dish. My only complaint was that the long strands of vegetables lent the dish an odd texture, a sort of unbalanced crunch.

For his part, the hubby greatly enjoyed his dish (seen at the top of the post). He found the vegetables to be quite tasty, confirming my suspicion that they would do well with a sauce. He described his dish as medium hot--an excellent balance.

Phuket offers a wonderful atmosphere and some truly standout options (the bbq chicken was excellent) but I was disappointed in the so-so vegetables. I would have no qualms about returning if we were in the neighborhood, but for the price, they won't be my first choice for Thai food.

Total for the meal: $34.98 (Includes one order of spring rolls, Thai BBQ Chicken dinner, Drunken Beef Noodles Dinner, and two soft drinks.)

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  1. And yet the last time we were there I was so totally turned off because there were more children in the restaurant than adults (and it was around 6:30 or so on a weekend evening). I think that ranks as one of my pet peeves, going to someplace that I would consider somewhat upscale and paying the price for it only to be surrounded by screaming kids.

  2. That Thai barbecue really looks good, thank you for sharing this and I hope to visit this restaurant.

  3. At the time I went with friends their menu was very similar to Surin of Thailand on Airport road. I was not impressed, especially with prices for food I thought was better at Surin. And the ambiance was just as good at Surin.

    This was the conclusion all of us that went came to after eating there. But I can't fault the plating or service.

    Of course I have only visited Phuket once and Surin (on Airport) several times each year.

    I say on Airport because the one in Madison was horrible and now they changed their name to Surie. I would order take-out from the Madison one but not go in, to be disappointed.

    Alas, I have shared too much opinion. Thanks for letting me vent. Glad you had a good experience at Phuket.

  4. Julie--I don't mind children being in upscale restaurants (or any restaurants) as long as they are being appropriately parented. When we ate at 1892 East, we shared a bench with a family that was clearly out celebrating something and had several children with them. The parents kept the kids to their area of the bench, apologized and chastised if the kids got disruptive (which they never really did), and generally paid attention to them. It was fine and didn't bother me in the least. On the other hand, we were out at Totoras on a busy Friday night and one group of families had decided to get one table for the adults and another for the 4 youngish (5-7 year old) kids. At least two of the kids spent most of the night running between and among the two tables with their parent's mostly ignoring them. I understand the parent's want to catch up but the kids were being a nuisance, "fancy" place or no.

  5. Tyrone--Thanks for sharing your opinions! In the past I've tried Phucket's pad thai and felt that it was good, but over priced. The bar-b-que chicken was a different story as I felt it was an outstanding dish. I found the atmosphere at Phucket better than at Surin mostly because on our visit to Phucket the restaurant was quiet while on our visit to Surin it was raucously loud. The noise level was not improved by us being shoved in right next to the bar. Since writing this review, I've been back to Surin, a bit later in the evening when there were fewer patrons, and it was a lovely quiet meal.

    One of the hard things about writing reviews based on a single visit is that you never know if what you are seeing/tasting/experiencing is an anomaly (good/bad night) or par for the course. So I really appreciate when you all can chime in to confirm or deny! : )

  6. The owner-operators of Phuket are from northwestern Thailand, near the Burmese border. Try some of the regional specialties (they are usually the daily specials) and you'll be blown away!

  7. After getting the worst case of food poisoning in my life from their lettuce wraps we have never been back. The only shared food on the table, we were sure that it was the culprit as we were both equally sick.


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