Armed with intelligence from an MSG150 fan (we have little of our own) we took a route today that passed under the HCG and past the former home of Blue & Pink. Blue & Pink has been closed for a month or so but today there was a new banner over the door, "Henry's Bento". Since we were meeting Erin today at Tropics we decided to stay on plan and then double back on the next MSG150 outing to get Henry's Bento. Hopefully it will still be in business. Tropics is one of only a few Thai restaurants in the DLZ and always draws a big lunch crowd. Today was no exception.
Family Style Dishes
- #6 - Cashew Chicken - $6.95
- Lunch Special - Spicy Noodle - $7.95
- 2 x #5 - Phad Ped Combo - $7.95 ($15.90)
- #13 - Prik Khing Prawns - $8.95
- #19 - Phad Thai with Pork - $6.95
- #16 - House Noodles - $6.95
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Family Style - $9.00
There's nothing tropical about Tropics, except that they serve Thai food, which I guess is kind of Tropical. I've been here many times, as it is one of two places in the ID that serve Thai food. They always have a good sized crowd. We were seated quickly at the big table and promptly ignored for a long time.
Sooner or later we got our server's attention and placed our order. I usually go for the Green Curry Chicken lunch special but we went family style this time. Everything was tasty and fresh. The noodles were in a tasty sauce, while the prawns and veggies were nicely seasoned. On the other hand, they gave us a ridiculously small serving size for the price. It felt like a kids meal or something. I heard food was getting expensive so maybe they're trying to shrink the portion sizes to compensate. It wouldn't have been a big deal if I hadn't been STARVING 3 hours later and had to attack the creepy leftovers in our office fridge.
Anyhow, good food, and definitely better than their Thai competition in the food court, but small portions and slow service yield it a crappy score.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Family Style - $9.00
Tropics was bustling when we arrived, but one of the large tables in the back was still open. We were seated quickly, but the staff seemed overwhelmed and it took a while to get menus and then even more time to place our order. There was heavy take-out traffic, which seemed to be clogging up their flow. We decided to go with family style so I ordered one of the specials form the white-board, Spicy Noodle (pan fried wide rice noodles with egg, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, basil, chicken, and prawns).
The food took a while to arrive, but once it started to come it arrived in a pretty steady stream. The Spicy Noodle was one of the first dishes out. It was good: tender chicken and shrimp, fresh still crisp vegetables, and a rich, tangy sauce over wide rice noodles. The dishes that came with a side of white rice seemed to be a bit skimpy on the dish part, but everything was cooked and prepared well with fresh ingredients. There was a bit of sameness to all of the sauces and nothing really stood out. If you're in the mood for Thai and in the ID, there is no better spot.
The food alone rates a 3.5 chopsticks for me, but when forced to round to a whole number the slow service takes it down to a solid 3 chopsticks.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Family Style - $9.00
Thai Food! Huzzah! I haven't had thai food in a while, so I'm pumped. Rob wasn't with us, so we were able to have a meat-eating family-style lunch. We got a pretty good array of dishes... but had to wait with bated breath for 15 minutes for our food to arrive (after waiting 18 minutes to get our order taken). An aside: in general, the service was a bit disorganized.
Of all the different dishes we had, I have to say that the Lunch Special Spicy Noodle was the best. All of the dishes (except the Phad Thai, and House Noodles) tasted almost identical; I honestly couldn't taste the difference between them. They're all decently good.
The meat selections seem to be somewhat ignored. I think our Phad Thai with Pork actually came out with tofu. Also, each dish had a different spice level... which was completely ignored. When each dish was brought out, they actually quoted the wrong spice level. The spice level that we asked for didn't really matter anyways, because everything came out weakly spiced (approx 1-star).
If you're looking for Thai Food, the International District isn't the best place. But if you're hankering for Thai and you're in the ID... this is definitely a reasonable option.
Luncher: ErinLunch: Family Style - $9.00
Tropics is definitely a lunch time hot spot. When I arrived I saw the main group had gotten a large table, but otherwise the place was packed and I would have had to wait for a table. We waited for a while before someone brought water, and then we had to ask for menus. Maybe the server thought we had already ordered. We waited for someone to take our order.
Once someone came to take our order, most of us decided to share the dishes family style. Most dishes were ordered 3 to 5 stars hot. The food did not take long to arrive. Quite a few of the dishes looked the same. There was a house special noodle, fried noodles in a broth, served in a bowl. I had tastes of several things. My favorite was the Priking (sp?) Prawns. They were prawns stir-fried with green beans in a spicy sauce. The other dishes I preferred were the Cashew Chicken and the house special noodle. Although the dishes were ordered spicy, I did not find them very spicy. I would have rated most of the heat at about 2 stars. Also, the portions were small, even for lunch, and a few even looked a little lost on the large white plates.
Overall, the food was tasty and fresh, but with small portions. Service was slow and brief. This is a good place for quick lunch Thai, but not special enough for more than a three chopstick rating. Go early or late, but not right at noon.
Luncher: JaredLunch: Family Style - $9.00
The food was quite good, though the portion sizes were small and most of the dishes seemed to be minor variations on a theme. Service could have been faster too.
Luncher: JoeyLunch: Family Style - $9.00
Honestly, I did not expect much from this place for being the only Thai place in Chinatown. Okay, there might be one other… might be in the Uwajimaya food court or something. But when I think of Thai food in Seattle I think of the Ave and then maybe Broadway. But I’ll give it a chance. I was definitely more optimistic than when we went to Fortuna!
I ordered the phad kra pau. Not sure of the spelling since every place spells it differently, but it’s one of my favorite Thai dishes – stir fry vegetables with choice of meat (I like to get chicken) and basil leaves. I ordered the maximum 5 stars, because Al told me they’re conservative with their stars. Someone else ordered the same thing, but with 3 stars. When it came I couldn’t tell, which one was 3 stars and which one was 5. I notice many Thai restaurants are not so accurate with their stars.
The portions for the phad kra pau were tiny, so I was glad I decided to join in on the family style. The phad kra pau was okay. I think it lacked some of the sweetness that I like in most phad kra pau sauces. I also didn’t really taste the basil. I remember the Singapore noodles being pretty good even though it’s not my style. Other than that this place was not the greatest. Average 3 rating.
Luncher: AlLunch: Family Style - $9.00
Thai comfort food, but Mom charges less.
Luncher: TorreyLunch: #18 Phad Kee Mao - $6.95
Back of Menu
#6 - Cashew Chicken
#5 - Phad Ped Combo
#5 - Phad Ped Combo
#13 - Prik Khing Prawns
#19 - Phad Thai with Pork
#16 - House Noodles
#18 - Phad Kee Mao