The Fast Foodie

Thai Dee
5307 Blanco
11am-9pm Mon-Sat
For those who like to eat a LOT of Thai food for fairly little money, Thai Dee is a good choice. If your priorities for Thai food are otherwise, well … at least you’ll have leftovers for your friends. I met a person who said this is their favorite Thai restaurant in town. Then again, I’ve heard similar “favorite” praise for just about every Thai joint in San Antonio. There’s only one way to find out who to trust.

Thai Dee is located a few blocks south of Jackson-Keller on Blanco Road in a small, nondescript strip mall. It might not seem inviting from the outside but it’s quite charming on the inside. The walls are covered in warm wood, which the waitress told me was part of a remodeling effort the previous year, and the seating area is cozy. The service is also excellent. Our waitress was extremely friendly; her enthusiasm was captivating and raised our hopes for the food.

The menu was full of options, including several vegetarian dishes, and some of the curries, such as duck and pumpkin, were distinctive. We began our meal with the Tom Kha Gai, a coconut-milk soup typically served with chicken (we substituted tofu). When it arrived we knew immediately that something was different: Instead of the normal off-white color, the soup was slightly pink. My dining buddies and I wondered if Thai Dee used the same base for their red curry. The flavor was very subtle. I wanted to attribute it to “delicacy,” but ultimately the broth lacked complexity. The mushrooms, however, were abundant — and not the typical straw mushrooms, but large buttons, fresh and full of flavor.

Next we tried the basil noodles with chicken, of which I had heard only positive reviews. The plate came with an enormous amount of chicken. For me it almost overwhelmed the rest of the ingredients, but my friends had no complaints. The basil was in good quantity. This dish was the best thing we tried that day, except for the dessert. Hold that thought.

The second entrée we sampled was a daily special, the pumpkin curry. The pumpkin by itself was comforting, but overall the dish was disappointing. The foundation of the curry wasn’t enticing, the coconut milk wasn’t creamy, and the texture was oddly gritty, which could have been because of the pumpkin. After some discussion we concluded that curry is not Thai Dee’s specialty.

For dessert we ordered the coconut ice cream, which was delicious. I’ve never gone to a Thai restaurant just for the dessert, but it was our favorite that day.

I don’t want my criticism of Thai Dee to seem too harsh. The food is abundant; the prices are cheap, with most of the entrees around $8 or less. But competition for Thai food has increased in the last few years and though Thai Dee has its charms, I can’t put it at the top of my list.

— Mark Jones

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