Monday, September 20, 2010

Pam Real Encore 09-16-2010

Location: 402 W. 47th St.
Time: 1pm
People: Showtime Ops! (SaSha, PeeWee, BeBe, AP and myself)

Feelings: As I review yet another Thai restaurant in Hell's Kitchen area, I am consumed with writer's block. What more can I write about? Believe it or not, we are still continuing our Hell's Kitchen Thai exploration that started back in 2008. How many Thai places can there be in this area? Couldn't they replace a few of those mediocre Thai restaurants with retail stores, shoe stores to be precise?

After enjoying our previous expedition to Pam Real Thai back in springtime, I was informed about their modern version, Pam Real Encore. As we entered this modernly decorated, dimly lit and completely empty restaurant, we were not sure if they were even open for lunch. Just as the original Pam Real, Pam Real Encore does not offer lunch specials or accepts credit cards, which could be why they were not attracting too many customers.

The menu was almost identical to its sister restaurant, but I did not see any modern take on the food itself. AP's Pad Gra Prow Fried Rice, his go-to Thai dish, was "wetter" that he was used to. "I found it satisfying if somewhat on the bland side," he said. My Pad See Ew with Tofu was also "wetter" if I may borrow his descriptive term. I liked that I had a choice of fried or steamed tofu, but I too felt that it was bland.

After coming back from vacation in Paris and India, BeBe had missed Thai food. Although her Pad Thai with Tofu had significantly small amount of tofu, she enjoyed the dish. "Everything tasted fresh, and I was pleased with the amount of vegetables," she added. "I have to say though I thought they gave me the wrong order because I had more vegetables than three pieces of fried tofu."

SaSha and PeeWee ordered Mixed Vegetables with Vegetarian Duck, and they both thought it was fresh and large in portion without being too greasy. Peter added that it looked almost too convincingly like real duck although tasted like seitan.

Perhaps the winner of Pam Real Encore is PeeWee's Vegetarian Tom Kha Gai soup. He often has a difficulty finding vegetarian soup at Thai restaurants since it usually involves some sort of meat stock. However, this soup was completely vegan and quite flavorful. "Very tasty, a little tangy, a little sweet, and just salty enough," he said. It had tons of fresh vegetables, and it made me envious of PeeWee's order. I will definitely order this soup next time, especially during the chilly months ahead.

In the mediocre Thai restaurant madness that is Hell's Kitchen, we sometimes find something unexpected such as the Vegetarian Tom Kha Gai soup. This is why we cannot stop this Thai venture just yet: There must be more out there.

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