3277 Refugee Road
Thais love food. A lot.
When amongst a group of Thais who find themselves in Columbus, try asking about their favorite place for (insert non-Thai Asian dish here). Don’t be surprised if this spurs a passionate 20 minute discussion of the pros and cons of any of a variety of options.
Now, try this – ask about their favorite place to go when they’re homesick. Odds are, discussion will begin and end with a single word: Bangkok.
This is not surprising, since Bangkok (the restaurant) is nothing less than a slice of Bangkok (the city), that’s been picked up and plonked down on Refugee Rd. in our fair city. A place where decor is reserved for expressions of respect for Buddha, king, and country, and service is leisurely and charming… Bangkok is pure Thai through and through.
This, of course, extends to the menu offering. While Bangkok carries an abbreviated menu of Chinese-American dishes, to order one is, at least in my opinion, to entirely miss the point. Who orders Tex-Mex in Rome?
Certainly not Warren Taylor*, owner of Snowville Creamery, who we (purely by chance) ran into during our visit. As soon as the wait staff saw him, a series of nods back and forth indicated that he’d be having ‘the usual’.
In his case, this meant pad hoi (mussels in red sauce) and pad puck boong (watercress in a garlic sauce). When this arrived, along with our pork pad ka pow (ground pork with basil and garlic) and pad thai, Warren suggested eating ‘family style’.
Our kind of guy, that Warren.
I tried the pad hoi first. This was something special – a generous portion of some of the plumpest mussels I’ve ever seen, served with vegetables in a red sauce. The red sauce was fascinating – almost everyone at the table thought tasted like a Thai interpretation of a tomatoey marinara sauce that had been pureed. Delighted but slightly confused, we asked the waitress about this. Turns out, we were comically off – the red color came from a mild chili paste (no tomatoes whatsoever). Fish sauce, garlic, and basil rounded it out. A dish worth plotting a return trip around.
The pad ka pow was also very well received. The ground pork hit the sweet spot between too lean and too fatty, and the sweet basil, garlic, and chiles asserted themselves in no uncertain terms. A great dish that effortlessly balances big flavors, pad ka pow is often eaten by Thais with kai dao (a fried egg).
The pad thai – I almost hesitate to even mention it. Not because it wasn’t good (it absolutely was), but because people’s opinions about it are almost as divergent as their take on, say, pizza. Suffice it to say that everyone at our table enjoyed it, with several suggesting it was their favorite.
Beyond what we tried, Bangkok’s Thai selection is substantial – from yum nuea to tom yum to curries, they hit all of the high points and then some. They also have a reasonable selection of vegetable dishes, though strict vegetarians may want to inquire about their use of fish sauce.
Regrettably, the majority of the photos from the evening were lost to faulty technology. Guess we’ll just have to go back sometime soon (such a hardship!).
*Warren Taylor, aside from being a hell of an interesting character, oversees the production of a product is perhaps worthy of an alt.eats post of its own. For the time being, though, if you haven’t tried Snowville’s milk or cream I highly recommend you do.