Since Dickson had expressed a desire to have his favorite apple pie dessert from Joey’s Grill, I figured it was a good time as any to satisfy my craving for the best pad thai in the city. Located across the street from the downtown Joey’s, Bua Thai (10049-113 Street) is a small restaurant renowned for its abrupt service and great food (in that order). I know that when I’ve talked about my past dining experiences there, I usually draw attention to their rather rude way of greeting patrons (involving a quick, “Reservation?” in place of a typical, “Good evening” or “Hello”). At the same time, I think I have reached a point where I am nearly expecting that abuse, equating a meal there to a dinner theatre for sado-masochists.
I made sure to call ahead for reservations, despite knowing that we were dining early on a Tuesday night. When we reached the restaurant at 5:30, we were, not surprisingly, the only customers there. The dining room is simply and tastefully decorated, with Asian artifacts clustered near the order counter, a few plants scattered throughout, and colorful tapestries set underneath the glass countertops of individual tables.
Bua Thai boasts quite an extensive menu, but I didn’t need any guidance to head straight for the phat thai. To supplement the noodles, we also ordered the baked lemongrass chicken. The phat thai, as anticipated, was fantastic. I’m not sure what it is about their version that makes it so much better than others, except to say that the dish reminds me of Chinese char kway teow. As for the chicken – the serving was fairly generous (though for the price, it had to have been), and though the chili-lemongrass sauce flavored the meat nicely, the chicken was on the dry side.
And the report you’ve all been waiting for – the service was actually fine. Our host/waiter could have even been considered friendly! Is it wrong to say that my dwarfed expectations lessened my experience somewhat? I’m really not easy to please.
Overall, I enjoyed the food. Though I must admit that I didn’t recall how steep the prices were. Bua Thai is by necessity an infrequent destination.