Nov. 30, 2004
What I most
remember about my visits to The Thai Place, 4130 Pennsylvania,
was the camaraderie and the food.
Throughout each visit our waiters served unobtrusively as
they refilled our alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, deftly
whisked away and replaced plates, and asked if we needed anything
else at just the right moment.
On a rainy October afternoon, Volcano Soup $6.95, $7.95 or $8.95, with chicken, shrimp or mixed seafood seemed like the perfect way to start a meal. Rick and I asked for medium seasoning and then we shared an enormous bowl. Lemongrass, Keffir lime and sliced button mushrooms, tomatoes and onions combined with cilantro, red pepper flakes and chicken slices almost too large for a spoon packed a tolerable heat that made my nose sweat.
My Thai Ice Coffee with cream $1.95 cooled things down a bit.
The tall iced drink recalled a Black Russian sans the alcohol.
Larry and Lee Ann accompanied my husband Mark and me on our
evening visit. We started with Roasted Duck Basil Rolls $8.95
and Chicken Satays $6.95. A distinctly different peanutinfused
sauce accompanied each one. A reddishbrown, slightly sweet hoisin
peanut sauce combined soybeans with chile peppers and garlic,
and provided a wonderful counterpoint to the duck rolls, while
a smooth, peanutcolored sauce with a slight afterburn accompanied
The bambooskewered satays were perfectly seasoned, perfectly
grilled, perfectly moist and perfectly divine. A small salad
of sliced cucumber and red onion in a sweet and vinegar sauce
completed the plate.
Served at room temperature, the delicate Roasted Duck Bail
Rolls were full of duck bits the texture of scallops, chopped
greens and crispfresh basil leaves and flavor. They arrived
on a bed of light green cabbage shreds.
Other appetizer offerings include Miniature Garlic Pork Ribs
$6.95, Pan Fried Jumbo Crab Cakes $13.95, Cream Cheese Summer
Rolls $7.95, Tiger Cry Beef $7.95 or Stuffed Chicken Wings $9.95.
I might also order Chicken Galango Soup $8.95, bowl; $10.95,
pot or Thai Beef Stew Soup $9.95, bowl; $11.95, pot.
It's not easy choosing from an entree menu that includes12
seafood dishes, eight "favorites," four curries, dozens
of stirfries and 10 rice and noodle dishes. But we finally made
some decisions. I ordered a classic dish, Shrimp Phad Thai $11.95.
It included delicate rice noodles, scrambled egg, bean sprouts
and cabbage with small shrimp. I asked for mild seasoning and
got almost no discernable heat, but this dish could definitely
pass for Thai comfort food.
Marks Spicy Seafood Lemongrass $19.95 combined shrimp with
scallops, mussels, squid shredded crab and oriental vegetables
in a pale brown garlicflavored sauce. Created to present a medium
heat, there was very little evident. Cucumber, tomato and onion
slices, and medium shrimp accompanied juicy, perfectly cooked
pineapple chunks in Larrys Thai Sweet and Sour Shrimp $18.95.
Red pepper added subtle heat to the light brown gravy.
We sampled King & Ann Chicken $7.95 for lunch, $13.95 for
dinner during both visits. When The Thai Place opened on 87th
Street, in 1991, this menu item jumped directly from the kitchen
of co-owner Arun Ann Liberda, to the restaurant menu, as did
many other dishes. Ted Liberda, co-owner, and manager of the
Westport location, said the dish was named in honor of Thailands
king and his mother.
A deep brown rum and garlic-laced sauce enveloped shiitake
mushroom and large chicken slices. At lunch the dish was overly
salty, with a bit more ginger than in the dinner serving. Generous
scoops of jasmine rice and two Crab Rangoon accompanied our
Patrons may also choose a salad or wonton soup. Our salads
featured iceberg lettuce, cucumber slices, carrot, cabbage gratings,
crushed peanuts and a sweet dressing with a subtle bite. I ordered
Yellow Curry Seafood $9.95, with shrimp, scallops, mussels,
squid, celery, fulllength leaves of Napa cabbage, bell peppers
and onions. The menu also said there was crab in this dish.
I was disappointed to find surimi mock crabmeat instead. But
the curry sauce was simultaneously mellow and flavorful.
We satisfied our evening sweet tooth with the Thai Place Dessert
Plate $9.95. This offering provided more than enough food, even
with four of us sharing.
There was soft banana wrapped in an equally soft breading,
sweet fried wonton topped with rich, homemade coconut ice cream
and then doused in a chocolate glaze, and coconut custard
a dense, seductive dessert square that tasted of caramel.
Mark and I hadnt lingered over dinner with friends for two
hours in months. But our evening at The Thai Place flew as we
shared stories and dishes.
The Thai Place 4130 Pennsylvania Kansas City, Mo. 816-753-8424 *Additional locations: 9359 Santa Fe Drive, 11838 Quivira Road, 7th Street and Walnut and 734 NW 7 Highway LUNCH/DINNER: Mon.Thurs., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri.Sat., 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ratings: Food *** Service *** Atmosphere *** Price $$$
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