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The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Friday, July 25, 2014

Restaurant Review — Turn up the heat: Thai Café & Noodle Treats

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Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 5:00 am

Thai cooking, like all great cuisines, is both the sum and its parts. It entices with individual flavors of fresh basil and mint, salty fish pastes, and lime juice. These are added to vegetables, both common and exotic, along with grilled and sautéed beef, chicken, seafood, pork, or tofu. They’re accompanied by wonderfully flavored, often chile-spiked sauces and are paired with noodles or rice. This makes for delectable, unexpected combinations in which the savory whole never loses sight of its individual ingredients. Thai Café & Noodle Treats, sister to Thai Café on San Francisco Street, gets some of this equation right. Its vegetables are of good quality, and they’re prepared with attention. Fresh herbs provide just the right accents. Noodle sauces and soup bases can be rich and intriguing. But something, often the meats added to these dishes and the additional dipping sauces, subtracts from the whole.

Located near the Regal Stadium 14 cinema, Thai Café looks like it was originally designed for something other than a restaurant. The main dining room is lined on two sides with windows that give a view of the parking lot, and the inside walls are done in soft pastel shades. A CD player on a counter near the kitchen entrance puts out traditional Thai music of remarkable clarity, probably because of the room’s high ceiling. Lavender-colored cloth napkins are a nice touch. Ignore the Singha sticker on one of the doors — the café doesn’t serve beer and wine yet.

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