Fresh New Option for Lunch
UPDATE (04/30/09): This restaurant closed and an Ethiopian restaurant took its place.
1442 Franklin St. (at 15th), Oakland
Open for lunch only
I’ve complained before about the limited lunch options around my office, forcing me to take the 10-block trek to Oakland’s Chinatown. So I always get excited when I’m met half-way by something new.
Dazz Thai, despite sounding like a jazz studio, opened a few months ago near 15th Street, half-way between my office and Chinatown. This week I decided to check it out and asked my friend Jeanne to join me.
The restaurant is brightly painted with the typical Southeast Asian colors of orange and lime, and has some interesting photographs on the walls, including what looks like family pictures. The room is split into two dining areas, and is often filled with the smell of incense.
Even before ordering, our waiter brought out two bowls of the house soup, which is typically a clear broth with stewed vegetables. It was a nice palate cleanser.
The menu is made up of your typical rice plates, stir-fries, curries and pad Thai noodles. But they also serve a few Thai noodle soup bowls, which looked intriguing. Jeanne and I decided to order a few dishes to share, and they all pretty much came out at the same time.
We had the Yum Yai Salad ($8.95), which was this huge plate of roughly chopped lettuce overflowing with shrimp, chicken, cucumber, thinly sliced red onions, pineapple chunks and tomatoes. It had the light Thai dressing, similar to Vietnamese dressing using the fish sauce, lime and chilies. It was refreshing and filling all at the same time. I never had a salad with pineapples and it was oddly comforting, maybe because I’m from Hawaii and I’m used to pineapples.
Next is the Basil Chicken ($7.95), which is a standard dish at a lot of Southeast Asian restaurants. What threw me off, though, was the chicken, which looked a bit like ground pork or something. The chicken was in pieces. Still, the overall dish was nice with the light garlic and chili sauce, but I didn’t get a strong basil flavor although you could clearly see the Thai basil leaves in the dish.
I typically order Pad Thai but wanted to be adventurous, so with the recommendation of our waiter, we ordered the Pad Kee-Moua ($7.95), which is a fried noodle dish using the flat rice noodles. It’s wok-fried with basil leaves, onion, bell peppers, and chili. We ordered it with tofu for an extra $2.
Our waiter warned us that the Pad Kee-Moua would be spicier than the other noodle dish we were looking at, and he wasn’t kidding. It wasn’t overpowering but you definitely got the kick. (I actually shouldn’t be surprised because right at the front table with the incense is a big jar of dried red chilies, so this place doesn’t kid around when they say spicy.) Jeanne liked the noodles, but I felt it was a little on the greasy side.
The service was very friendly and attentive, but then again the restaurant wasn’t too crowded on the day we went. I’ve seen it busier on other days walking by on my way to Chinatown.
The food seems fresh, and the servings are generous. It’s definitely a step above the couple of Thai places near me, but nothing to travel long distances for. In fact, it’s the kind of place I’d go half-way for.
Single guy rating: 2.5 stars (Spicy Thai Lunch)
Explanation of the single guy's rating system:
1 star = perfect for college students
2 stars = perfect for new diners
3 stars = perfect for foodies
4 stars = perfect for expense accounts
5 stars = perfect for any guy's dream dinner
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Fresh New Option for Lunch