Thai Cuisine 

A blown-up newspaper article plastered to the front door of Thai Cuisine restaurant on Overland Road proclaims, "A Cut Above the Rest." So it was with a heightened sense of expectation that I entered Thai Cuisine for the first time with my husband and two sons for a casual Monday dinner. The dining room's ornately carved dining chairs and tabletops have been imported from Thailand, which is very cool, but the banquettes that comprise most of the seating have an amateurish, do-it-yourself look to them. After my first glance, that "cut above the rest" proclamation looked a little shaky. I hoped the food and service would redeem the decor.

The menu at Thai Cuisine features a dozen lunch specials for $6.95 as well as staples like pad Thai, satay, spring rolls and five types of curry (Mussaman, red, red pineapple, green and panang). We started our dinner by sharing an order of plump, rice paper-wrapped spring rolls ($5.95) stuffed with lettuce and basil leaves, whole shrimp and chopped chicken with a sweet dipping sauce. We also shared skewers of curry chicken satay ($5.95) that seemed to be made from spongy, saline-soaked chicken—which should be classified as a cut above cafeteria food. The entrees that followed were average. Oh, the produce was fresh enough, the sauces all right, but each lacked the complexity of flavor that Thai cuisine is known for. My husband ordered the green curry with beef in coconut milk ($8.95), and our eldest son ate the pineapple-laden sweet and sour beef ($8.95). Our youngest son picked at the spicy basil seafood ($10.95), searching among carrot slices and baby corn for the calamari, fish, prawns and scallops listed on the menu. He discovered lots of calamari toward the bottom, but the other seafood was mostly AWOL. My grilled beef salad ($7.95) was loaded with slivers of red onion, bell peppers and cuke on a bed of iceberg lettuce but lacked the complex flavors of cilantro, mint, lime juice and nam pla I enjoy when making the same dish.

Our server seemed intent on rushing us out of the place on that lonely Monday evening, even though we were one of only four tables. She was also more interested in sitting on her butt and folding a stack of napkins than clearing the dirty dishes from our table. I hate to gripe about a Thai restaurant in Boise because I remember too well the days when there was no Thai in town. But if you want a Thai meal that really is a cut above, look for it somewhere else.

—Jennifer Hernandez digs it when she's Thai'd up.

Thai Cuisine: 6777 Overland Rd., 658-0516. Mon.-Thu.: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun.: 12-9:30 p.m.

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