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Table: SalaThai

Anata and I hit up this place after watching Robocop since it was just across the street and not out of the way. I've never been to this establishment before, but Anata's been there for lunch and said it's not bad. They have a signboard on top of the restaurant with the name in Thai. It reads as "Sala Thai" which translates to "Thai Pavilion".

Close by, on the way home, and "not bad"? I'm down to try. In we went. They were offering a special valentine's day menu which I looked at, but didn't find too interesting, so we opted to pick a couple dishes from the menu. Nothing too heavy as it was late and we'd had popcorn at the theatre.

They're also advertising some new happy hour thing, which might be a good deal for food - half off!

The inside of the restaurant was kind of dim but not overly so. Anata said it's usually brighter during the day, but they appeared to have dimmed the lights for the dinner service. Lighting was off, which affected the quality of my photos.

Okay, my disclaimer here: I usually don't go out to eat Thai food. In fact, I usually dislike eating Thai food at restaurants here because I find it such a disappointing prospect. I grew up in Thailand, spent 5 of my formative years there, and continually visit family. So it's hard for me to justify the price against the authenticity and quality of Thai food here in Canada, simply because... there's really no comparison. It's just not the same, and if I crave Thai food I usually make it myself at home.
Spiel over, tldr; I am a Thai food snob.

On order: laab (chicken), rad na (chicken), cashew nut chicken. Sensing a theme here? haha.

The laab (on their menu they write it as "larb" but I use a more phonetic spelling) was disappointing. I don't know if it was because we ordered on last call or something, but I think they forgot half of the seasonings because the taste was lacking in flavour by a lot. They had a kind of slight tang and vague sweetness but I didn't get any spice or fish sauce saltiness, so it felt very incomplete. I ended up having a few tasting bites and leaving the rest to take home so I could doctor it for later. Laab that wasn't really laab. Weird. Rest of the components on the plate seemed okay. Missing the beans. I also think they were missing the roasted rice, which is a pretty essential component. I'm guessing that we just had an incomplete dish and the kitchen was in a rush to get out this last order or something. Willing to give them another chance.

The rad na: surprising, and sort of pleasing. Better attempt than other places I've been to in Vancouver. They had the general taste to the gravy, which is a pretty big milestone in my book. I'm not sure why it's so hard to get right when it's pretty simple, but I think it might have to do with the availability of brown fermented bean / soy bean sauce. Anyways, the gravy was not bad. Broccoli? Weird, but I'll take it. The noodles were kind of sticking together so they weren't that great. The chicken was seasoned well and tender. The thing I was really missing for this dish was the pickled chili. I really do miss how in Thailand you get that little quad of sauces to help you customize your food with all flavours - sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy: sugar, fish sauce, chili, and the pickled chili in vinegar.

Cashew Chicken: had to order rice along with it as it didn't come with rice. Taste only scoring a soso for authenticity, but for what it was, it was tasty. Anata said it's way better than Khai. The veggies were tender but still had a texture. Tiny bit of heat from the dried chili. Chicken was juicy.

Verdict? Only soso, but I'm willing to give it another try and get a more comprehensive taste for their other dishes. I'm really hoping that the laab was just a dud and trying to give them the benefit of doubt since we were ordering at kitchen close time. The rad na gets plus points for gravy tasting pretty authentic.

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