COFFEE TEA FOOD SNACK. When this place opened in November with this all-caps message on the storefront awning it was easy to assume it was going to be just another scary mart servicing the folks lingering on the corner of 5th and Jackson. However, upon closer inspection it appeared to be a legitimate lunch option with possibly edible food. We even got word from reliable sources that it may even be good. Today five MSG150 lunchers stopped by to check it out.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Pad Thai Chicken - $5.00
I haven't done this in a while... but... bam!: 5 chopsticks. Thai Curry Simple (TCS) is lunch perfection.
There are so many variables that are in perfect harmony (quality, price, size, assortment, etc), that anything less than a 5 is wrong. The food at Thai Curry Simple is just that: Simple. It's not amazing; it's not fancy; it's good; it's hearty; it's fun to eat. My problems with Phad Thai usually fall into two categories: it's too peanut-y or it's too ketchup-y, and this was neither. It reminded me of my first experience with Thai food and thinking: "holy crap, this is just damned good."
TCS has an excellent assortment of hot sauces, of which I used four and one of which blew my socks off. I haven't talked about hot sauce in a while, but this place had it in spades. Because the hot sauce is available to the consumer, you can make your food however many "stars" you want. On a scale of 1-to-5... mine was on the high-side of 6 (whoops, this is going to hurt tomorrow). I loved it.
The price is $5. That gets you a place of food that is a great size. When it was first served, I was thinking: "This looks kind of small." But at the end of the dish, I thought: "That was perfect." I wasn't crammed full of food, and I wasn't still hungry. I didn't have a post-lunch sleep attack that is frequent with restaurant lunches.
The owners are definitely wily veterans of the lunch-restaurant game; apparently the wife has owned and operated several lunch outfits in NYC. They've got me hooked. I left Thai Curry Simple with a smile on my face, a full belly, and thoughts about when I could return.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Pad Thai Chicken - $5.00
When we showed up today all but the "CK" had been scraped off the awning. There is a tiny sticker in the window with the store name, ThaiCurrySimple.com. The interior is a little dark, but nicely appointed with a mix a Thai decorations and other oddities including a set of kitsch bird houses hung from the ceiling. There is a large, clear, but limited, menu on the wall with a section of Thai lunch dishes for $5 each plus desserts and drinks. I went with the Chicken Pad Thai.
Thai Curry Simple also sells sauce packets for $2 each to take home and recreate the dishes in your own kitchen. I examined the Pad Thai sauce for signs of ketchup and to my delight didn't detect any. My hopes for the lunch increased. The Pad Thai was in fact delicious. The chicken was tender and it had a nice tangy sauce. It was made even better with the liberal addition of homemade hot sauce, one of the many hot sauce choices on the table.
The owner (cashier/server) noticed we were taking photos and introduced us to his wife (cook) who is apparently a Thai food blogger (her blog is in Thai). We learned that they had run a similar restaurant in NYC for ten years before moving to Seattle. He also gave us a couple of cups of a tasty Thai tapioca dessert. Our plan to get free food has finally paid off.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Green Curry - $5.00
This joint, on a corner known more for homelessness than Thai Curry, is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. We've laughed at the name a bit as we walked by, not brave enough to try it till now. Coworkers have reported that it's interesting, and brought back strange artifacts from their ventures forth, like little plastic bags of curry juice. Excitedly we entered.
The place is clean, well decorated, and in spite of the grey walls, warm. There are a handful of curry options, pad thai, some Ro Tee, and a variety of to-go sweets and other such things. My green curry chicken was flavorful, though when served was closer to room temperature than hot. It was also heavy on chicken and bamboo shoots, light on the eggplant. Regardless, I enjoyed it, spiced with a little of the "No Kidding" hot sauce.
For dessert we shared the Banana Chocolate Ro Tee, which needless to say, was tasty for $3 or so. There are not enough Thai places in this neighborhood, and I'm happy for one more option. All in all a great bargain, and a great choice for a quick cheap lunch.
Luncher: RobLunch: Red Curry Tofu Veggie - $5.00
I never would have known there was a Thai restaurant here just from walking by -- the first thing I noticed was a big sign in the window advertising coffee and lattes. But it's definitely a great find. My red curry tofu veggie lunch showed up with what looked like only soft tofu and carrots (with choice of white or brown rice), and that made me a little nervous because I'm not the biggest fan of carrots. On closer inspection, though, I was happy to find cauliflower and onions and, if I remember correctly, bamboo shoots. The carrots had been steamed or boiled pretty soft, and the curry masked their flavor, which made me even happier -- carrots without carrots, sort of. The curry reminded me of dishes I've had in Thailand: simple and flavorful. But not so spicy, and that was easily resolved with the homemade hot sauce in a plastic tub on the table. Taking the lid off the tub released the sauce's wonderful aroma, and its taste and heat kicked ass. I savored every bite as beads of sweat trickled down my forehead. The Thai Iced Tea was good, too. And they do Ro Tee, which is something I haven't seen much or at all here. Those Thai pancakes were a staple of mine when I was traveling there a year and a half ago. So yeah, Thai Curry Simple is pretty awesome, and I'm looking forward to going back. All they need is better signage.
Luncher: AlLunch: Massaman Chicken - $5.00
Finally, good Thai food in the ID – and lunch for $5!
Thai Curry Simple PhotosThai Curry Simple
Thai Curry Simple
Thai Curry Simple Menu
Thai Curry Simple Menu in Thai
Owner at Counter
Interior w/o Fools
Hot Sauce - No Kidding
Red Curry Tofu Veggie
Pad Thai Chicken
Pad Thai - Chicken
Banana Chocolate Ro Tee
Pad Thai Sauce
Wall of Fame
WE WIN! (blurry)