By Kevin Felt
Orchid Thai Cuisine in Arcadia wouldn’t be out of place in the trendy malls dotting the landscape of modern Bangkok.
As we thumbed through the long menu, filled with traditional Thai foods and a limited selection of Chinese-influenced dishes, we gazed at the comfortable modern decor and baby blue ceiling, augmented with wispy clouds and twinkling star lights, which would be right at home in the trendier parts of Bangkok.
The annotated menu includes more than 100 items with helpful descriptions, ranging from Satay Chicken, Papaya Salad and Jungle Curry to Panang, Pad Thai and Nam Khao Tod.
For most of the a la carte curries and main dishes on the menu, you can chose between beef, chicken, pork or tofu for $7.95, shrimp or squid for $9.95, or fish or scallops for $12.95. Most lunch specials, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, cost $5.95.
The generously sized $7.95 a la carte plate of Spicy Orchid Crispy Chicken was especially tantalizing. Small chunks of chicken were stir-fried to the perfect crispness in a tasty garlic glaze with slivers of carrot, green onion and cashews.
Though the menu labels the dish as spicy, the friendly waiter’s warnings convinced me to try a medium version. Although it did little to sizzle my admittedly high-tolerance palate, the dish, atop 50-cent sticky white rice, was delicious.
Next was the $7.95 Pad-See-Ewe with tofu.
Thin, inch-wide rice noodles were pan-fried in a sweet soy sauce with egg, firm tofu and Chinese broccoli to create the slightly sweet, slightly salty dish, served on a large platter. It was good, but slightly bland for my tastes.
As an added surprise, as we boxed up our leftovers, the waiter delivered small cups of dessert.
Every day, the restaurant provides patrons with a different Thai dessert, he explained. Today’s specialty was a surprisingly tasty soup of chewy green tapioca balls, corn kernels, coconut shavings and iced sweetened milk.
It will definitely be worth another visit to try the Eggplant with Basil Leaves or the Green Curry.
Orchid Thai is at 1311 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia.