Thai Corner 

Thai Corner
601 SE Morrison St.
234-4102

Recently, while dining at Thai Orchid, my cohort commented that he doesn't like going there much because it feels "too NW 23rd." In other words, the décor and upscale-ish feel of the place made my working class companion feel a little too close to yuppiedom for comfort. A restaurant more to his liking might be the Thai Corner, which is basically a Thai diner--inexpensive and unassuming--that serves surprisingly kickass dishes, considering their prices.

As a general test, I ordered the ubiquitous and most famous dish, the Pad Thai. For me, it's a huge turnoff when a restaurant adds ketchup to their Pad Thai, possibly because I once ordered the dish at a restaurant in Olympia and the noodles were soaked completely red with Heinz. There may be a faint bit of ketchup in Thai Corner's Pad Thai. However, rather than making it taste like a bucket of soggy fries, it adds a subtle sweetness--something lacking in most Pad Thai dishes I've had around town; perhaps it's prepared with a bit of brown sugar. The Pad Thai is spicy and sticky and sweet, but without lime. It's mixed with fresh broccoli and tofu of a decent consistency, and then layered with shredded carrots and bean sprouts. Completely delicious and only $5.50 (lunch price).

My non-vegetarian friend ordered Pad Kee Mao with squid for $6.50. A medium-spicy dish with fresh tomatoes, basil, and broccoli, the meal came with a huge helping of "delicious, chewy" squid. The plate of big fat rice noodles, pan fried to perfect stickiness, was fragrant and spicy, but not unbearably so--a good balance of aroma and bite.

Thai Corner's curries are also quite good; their red curry almost rivals Thai Orchid's for taste and texture. Only, there is absolutely no chance you'll feel like a yuppie at Thai Corner. Rather than the block-arty, vibrant décor of the Orchid, the Corner feels like you're hanging out in somebody's grandma's living room. Traditional Thai art hangs on the wood-paneled walls, and the servers are extra-friendly, if a little short-staffed (you might want to reserve an extra half-hour if you plan to go for lunch).

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