Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pretty Good Thai

Chongco Thai Rice & Noodles
8503 Broadway #100
(on the northwest corner at Loop 410)

It seems like it wasn't that long ago that there was only one Thai restaurant in San Antonio. Now, Thai cuisine is all over the place: it's the new Buffalo chicken, only better.

Chongco took the triangular location vacated by a long-established pizzeria, cleaned it up and moved in. There is a brightness and sparkle to the place, partly no doubt because it is so new, but also because of the open, airy, uncluttered and clean feeling. 

Last city inspection: none performed yet
We arrived early in the evening (because we were on our way to witness the San Antonio Scorpions' famous victory over the Houston Dynamo), before the evening rush began. Of course, on a Tuesday evening I wouldn't expect there to be much of a rush; this is a location that is likely to attract only people employed in the immediate area. In fact, I wouldn't expect there to be any trouble getting a seat on any evening, unless the place somehow becomes fashionable, with well-known hip-hoppers and television personalities flying in from LA and New York to dine here. And while the airport is conveniently close, I don't see that happening. Despite being open for dinner, this really is a lunch place.

Judged against other Thai food in town (which may or may not be what Thai people eat at home, but who cares?), Chongco is pretty fair. The service was good, though I sensed that the waitress is very new to the endeavour. Still, she was prompt, friendly, competent and attentive to her customers' needs and desires, and when she gets comfortable in actually dealing with people in that setting, she will no doubt earn the place another chili pepper. For now, the verdict is that the place overall is not great, but good. 

I had the spring rolls, edamame and pad see ewe. The edamame was less than perfectly fresh, but about as near to it as one could reasonably expect in this town at the end of May. The spring rolls were well-made, but fried just a hair too long. The appetizer portion was five rolls, too much for one person's appetizer and a tough number to share unless among five people. The pad see ewe, a dish of broad noodles in sauce with broccoli and, in this case, pork, was better than I make at home, but that's really damning with faint praise. The sauce is thicker than I expected, making it difficult to separate the noodles into mouth-sized forkfuls, and the meat included a couple of pieces that were distinctly iffy. But overall, again: good, not great. 

(I also, uncharacteristically, opted for a "bubble drink." For anyone who hasn't tried one of these ultra-sweet chilled drinks, shame on you. They are a dessert that you can sip all through your meal, and when a tapioca pearl comes up the straw, it's like a little prize. My choice was honeydew melon flavour, and it was delicious. A wonderfully sinful treat ... although the last pearls out were frozen solid.)
Chongco Thai Rice and Noodles on Urbanspoon

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