Sunday, May 20, 2012

Krung Thai, (Thai), San Jose, CA

Krung Thai, arguably San Jose's best Thai restaurant since it's opening years prior, has just recently won my acclaim. For years I had driven by the sleepy main-street store waiting for the day I would dare to try it; yet at the same time, I feared the dinner I'd have to. All this confusion can be simply explained by the fact I had little knowledge of Krung Thai's brilliance and esteem. At the same time, my overwhelming dislike of the Thai cuisine (or at least San Jose's version) helped keep me away. Adding to the errors even after dining, I just recently realized I have been contributing to the location blocks South, which I have yet to try. This is a minimal discrepancy, as both serve the same food and are owned by the same Thai family, so I will continue writing this article as if nothing were in question.

Krung Thai's aura of excellence has been built by great service, better than average food, and a outpouring of love from the online community. Falling into the food category is one area the restaurant specializes in, appetizers. Delicious and traditional small plates flow out of the kitchen at rapid speeds, seeing that each table has at least two to it's name. The most popular may be the Satay, a Thai specialty. This savory stick of marinated meat comes in either pork or chicken and is nearly always served with a peanut oil sauce. Another favorite is the Kung Tod, or fried prawns, consisting of - you guessed it - a plate of perfectly fried seafood served with Thai sweet sauce.

The restaurant's famous appetizers and succulent desserts set the stage for mediocrity in the main course. However, Krung Thai breaks free from San Jose's traditional downfall - the inability to plate three perfect plates in a single meal. The middle entree is surely the best. Each dish has an affordable price tag to go with stunning flavor. The Yellow Curry is a perfect example, with large hunks of savory chicken and potatoes awash in a golden coconut sauce. A personal favorite is the Pad Ka-Na Prik Hang, or marinated beef with Chinese broccoli, a dish lathered in oyster broth. The dried red chills add an unexpected kick of subtle heat that pairs well with the boiled broccoli and savory beef.

For dessert comes sweet offerings such as the mango ice cream with fried banana, whose combination of oil and fruity cream makes for a wonderful finish. Never before had I tried mangoes and bananas as separate components of the same dessert. Now, it's something I regularly crave. The aromatic mango ice cream created a nice (albeit soupy) counterpart for the sweet crunch of the fried banana Thankfully, the dairy component was rather like a gelato in texture and took much longer to melt than a normal scoop, allowing the textures to be featured as ugh as the flavors.

Krung Thai has to be a top choice for dinner any time you stumble into the South Bay, a region known for mediocre cuisine when compared to the vibrant scenes of San Francisco, Oakland, and the North Bay. Krung Thai gives me and many others who call San Jose home hope that our little slice of California may soon develop into a renowned foodie hub.

Krung Thai on Urbanspoon

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