We should learn that a sign reading “Pavement Ends” should be our clue to turn around. If space permits. And it didn’t.
With nary a restaurant for miles around, we decided to head back into Pahrump for lunch at the second of my two local possibilities—My Thai. This small restaurant is located far from Route 160 which I consider to be Pahrump’s version of “The Strip.” Instead, it sits in a small strip mall where it shares space with a laundromat, dog grooming salon, and a combination Shell station and convenience store.
But inside, this small restaurant is warm and charming.
And the chair backs are decorated with painted pineapples.
We decided to try My Thai after reading favorable reviews on the internet. Lauren N. at yelp.com writes: “Absolutely, unequivocally the BEST food between Los Angeles and Las Vegas! And arguably the best Thai food we've ever eaten anywhere, anytime. Max (Ed. Note: the owner) is a stupendous host and waiter…. We eat here EVERY chance we get. My Thai is a hidden gem of the desert….it is well worth looking for. It truly is Pahrump's saving grace.”
Another commenter at yelp.com said: “Great little restaurant run by a Thai immigrant family. The place is tiny but elegant. I really felt welcomed into someone's home.”
Josh Adimini at urbanspoon.com said: “Unassuming store front in the middle of nowhere with Thai cuisine to die for! Family owned and operated (mom and dad in kitchen).”
And their comments were reinforced by vmcclellan at urbanspoon.com: “Fantastic! Really out of the way, but worth the trip….Wwas very pleasantly surprised by this little gem in Pahrump, NV. Understated storefront, excellent food. Try it, you won't be disappointed.”
We began by sharing an order of Pla Muk Tod—or Crispy Calamari. The rather large pieces in fact had a very crisp black pepper enhanced crust. They were somewhat chewier than we are accustomed to, but I understand that this is not necessarily a demerit in Asian cuisine.
As our first entrée, we chose the Hot Plate Seafood—a mix of shrimp, mussels, crab, scallops, fish balls, and mushrooms in a spicy sauce. And it came on a sizzling platter like the Thai equivalent of fajitas.
But too late I remembered our cousin Raina’s warning about seafood in the desert. I suspect that many of the components of this dish came into the kitchen in a frozen state. Some of the items, especially the mussels, were overly chewy. I would say that the star of the dish was the calamari that had been scored for tenderness.
I have recently developed an interest in Asian noodle dishes, so our second entrée choice was My Thai’s Drunken Noodles. This is “…a popular rice noodle dish. The food is comprised of wide noodles treated with soy sauce, garlic, fish sauce, and other seasonings. It typically contains some sort of meat element or tofu as a protein, as well as bean sprouts.
“A common misconception about drunken noodles is that the meal is made with alcohol. This is typically not the case. Instead, most people say that the name of the meal refers to the spiciness it tends to have, making diners drink heavily to combat the heat. Other names for the dish include pad kee mao or pad kimao. To officially be considered a drunken noodle dish, the recipe must contain some sort of Thai basil…” (wisegeek.com).
The dish contained chicken (our chosen protein), crisp green beans, red bell pepper strips, onions, and plenty of basil leaves. The basil gave the dish an almost sweet anise taste that Chuck initially thought came from five spice powder—not one of his favorite seasonings.
I really liked this. The noodles were somewhat chewy—not al dente as with Italian pasta. Chewy. And they were balanced by the tender chicken pieces and crisp beans. And the garlic and chile sauce had just enough heat.
If not for the chewy mussels, My Thai would have earned a 5.0 Addie rating. But, alas, I have to take that into account and only award 4.0 Addies.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.