Sherman's Food Adventures: Thai Basil (Commercial Drive)

Thai Basil (Commercial Drive)

I've said it again and again, how hard is it to find somewhere to eat?  Well, that was a real challenge on a Sunday of all nights.  Originally, Viv and I wanted to visit Captain's Boil on Kingsway due to a coupon we had.  However, there was a lineup out the door (really???).  Across the street, the lineups at Happy Day and Honolulu were just as bad.  Again, really???  Therefore, we hopped back into our car and drove...  all the way down to Commercial Drive.  Yes, go figure.  We ended up at the newly opened location of Thai Basil partly due to the fact we were near the Northern end of the Drive and also it was cheap.

I ended up doing what I usually do when the food is reasonably-priced - I order more!  We started with the Grilled Beef Salad with onions, cucumbers and tomatoes tossed in spicy chili garlic dressing.  They didn't skimp on the tender and well-seared beef, but for me personally, I prefer the beef to be medium (which would imply a steak sliced after-the-fact).  But for $7.50, the beef was fine for the price.  Although the textures were on point, I found there was a general lack of acidity (except for the tomatoes) from the lime juice and spice.  Included in our combo, we also got one Spring Roll which was served hot and crunchy.  Inside, the cabbage and carrot still retained a crunch, but the roll in general was a bit too mild-tasting.

We went for with the classic Chicken Green Curry served as a combo (including rice, salad and spring roll).  This was a touch thin, but not a problem since we don't prefer goopy curries.  It was still creamy with the sweetness of palm sugar and aromatics of Thai basil with a slightly spicy finish.  I was pretty impressed with the tender cubes of breast meat as well as the tender, but not overly soft chunks of eggplant.  As I was ordering up at the counter, I noticed their daily special - Hor Mok (Red curry with coconut meat, pork, egg, cabbage and basil).  This was definitely something I've never had before.  I enjoyed the plentiful and tender pieces of coconut meat and the aromatic red curry.  I personally wasn't a fan of the egginess but that wasn't their fault.  There was also a tonne of tender sliced pork as well.

Lastly, we had the Pad Thai topped with prawns and garnished with crushed peanuts and lime.  I thought the noodles were on point being chewy and not clumpy while subjected to enough wok heat.  Hence, there was a caramelization of flavours including the sweet palm sugar.  There was an equal amount of tang, especially from the squeeze of lime.  I did notice the absence of pressed tofu (it was regular fried tofu puffs) and pickled turnip though.  Overall, Thai Basil delivered us serviceable eats for a low price.  Not my first choice of Thai restaurants in town, but if I wanted to save some money...

The Good:
- Cheap
- Decent portions
- Quick

The Bad:
- Decent eats, but there is plenty better (but not for that price)

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