Thai Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Thai Kitchen on the northwest corner of Alameda and Corrales Roads

Thai Kitchen on the northwest corner of Alameda and Corrales Roads

There is no good meat that their stupid cooks do not spoil with the sauce they make. They mix with all their stews a certain paste made of rotten prawns…which has such a pungent smell that it nauseates anyone not accustomed to it.”  No, that’s not a review published by a disgruntled diner on Urbanspoon or Yelp.  Nor is it Gil describing a chile dish to which liberal amounts of cumin were added.  This scathing indictment was written in 1688 by Gervaise, a Catholic missionary from France.  It was his tactless way of describing a Siamese meal at a diplomatic function he attended.

Much has changed since Gervaise disparaged and insulted the cuisine of what is today Thailand, the only Southeast Asian country never to have been colonized by a European power.  Gervaise, who would probably attribute the failure to conquer Thailand to the food, was probably not the first and he certainly wasn’t the only person to have criticized Thai food, but few have expressed it with such derision.

My friends Bill Resnik and Bruce

My friends Bill Resnik and Sr. Plata enjoying the last of their beverages after an excellent meal

Gervaise would no doubt be very surprised to discover how popular Thai food has become in the three centuries since his unsavory encounter.  Thai food ranked sixth in a recent survey designed to gauge the popularity of international foods across the world.  What’s most amazing about its popularity is that before the 1960s, Thai food wasn’t widely available outside Thailand’s borders.  That changed during the Vietnamese War when a large number of foreigners came to Thailand and were exposed to Thai food and culture. 

To accommodate pockets of Thai immigrants to America missing their beloved cuisine, small Thai restaurants began opening up in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.   By the early 1900s, there were more than 200 Thai restaurants in Los Angeles alone.   When my Kim and I moved back to New Mexico in 1995, we could count on one hand all the Thai restaurants in Albuquerque.  Today the Duke City boasts of some 23 restaurants serving Thai cuisine.  Among the elder statesmen, established in 1995, is Siam Cafe which, going into its second decade, remains one of the city’s most popular Thai restaurants.

Tod Mun Plar (Fish Cakes)

May, 2014, saw the launch of Thai Kitchen on the northwest corner of the Alameda and Corrales intersection. The opening of a new Thai restaurant is reason enough for celebration, but even more so when the new Thai restaurant is the younger sibling of Siam Cafe, progenitor of some of the most enticing fragrances in town.   Thai cuisine aficionados will recognize the familiar smiling face of Art, the long-time host at Siam Cafe.  While his sister continues to own and operate Siam Cafe, Art is bringing the family operation to the burgeoning west side.

The Thai Kitchen is located at the former site of the Saffron Tiger Express, a popular Indian fast casual restaurant.  The most striking exterior feature of the Thai Kitchen is the steeple-shaped letter “A” on the word “Thai.”  It’s very representative of Thai architecture.  The restaurant’s interior may be the most beautiful of any Thai restaurant in town, a melange of soft, bright colors and dark masculine woods.  A statue of Buddha is poised on the capacious bar facing the seating area, a mix of booths and tables with good spacing.

Pork Satay

Thai Kitchen’s menu is replete with many of the same items featured at Siam Cafe.  Alas, Art and his staff apparently don’t watch the Big Bang Theory because the menu doesn’t include mee krob, the favorite Thai dish of wunderkind Sheldon Cooper.   Because of the Big Bang Theory’s popularity, mee krob has become one of the most heavily requested items at Thai restaurants.  So has another Sheldon favorite, chicken satay with extra peanut sauce which can be found on the Thai Kitchen’s menu.

30 May 2014: You won’t lament the absence of mee krob for very long because there’s so much else to enjoy.  Start with Tod Mun Plar, one of the most popular appetizers in Thailand.  A deep-fried fishcake (tilapia) mixed with curry paste and fresh herbs, it’s served with a sweet-tangy cucumber salad, a surprisingly effective foil for the strong flavors of the thinly pounded fishcake. Tod mun plar seems to be an acquired taste among many diners. Though it’s among my favorite Thai appetizers, very few of my dining companions enjoy it so I end up being “stuck” with finishing it all (choruses of “awwww” here).

Tod Mun Plar (Fish Cakes)

Green Curry with Beef

22 August 2014: Shelton Cooper’s beloved chicken satay with extra peanut sauce is on the Thai Kitchen.  After a marinade in Thai spices and coconut cream, thinly-sliced chicken breasts are grilled on wooden skewers in a shish kebab fashion.  Four skewers of golden-hued chicken “Popsicles” are served with a traditional Thai peanut dipping sauce and a cucumber salad.  The contrast between the pungent, smoky satay and the sweet peanut sauce provides a nice balance of flavor though you should exercise restraint with the peanut sauce as too much will make the satay dessert sweet.  The cucumber salad is even sweeter. For better results, try the satay sans sauce.

30 May 2014: During an April, 2014 visit to Butcher & Bee in Charleston, South Carolina, this avowed Dagwood clone eschewed  a sandwich in favor of larb at one of the highest rated sandwich shops in America. Made well, Larb, the very popular “cooked salad” typically found on the menu at Thai and Lao restaurants, is better than almost anything.  Larb is essentially a meat dish, most often made with minced or ground beef, pork or chicken with healthful elements of a salad.  The Thai Kitchen’s larb is made with grilled chopped chicken, mint, cilantro, Thai chiles, greens, lime juice and fish sauce.  It’s a very refreshing salad with qualities that’ll make your mouth tingle with appreciation.

Massaman Curry

Massaman Curry

30 May 2014: During my inaugural visit to any Thai restaurant it doesn’t matter what the acknowledged specialty of the house is, I’m going to order a curry dish. Thai curry offers some of the most olfactory-arousing fragrances of any dish.   Prepared well, its flavors deliver on the promises made by the fragrances which precede it.  Thai Kitchen’s green curry certainly delivers on its aromatic promises, but not as much on the renowned Thai heat.  At “Thai hot” as I ordered it, the curry should have been the overpowering taste sensation.  Instead, the green curry delivered on yet another promise of Thai cuisine–that of balance.  With a harmony of flavors, the green curry was sweet, sour, spicy, salty and pungent, not in equal measures, but with good balance.  It’s a very good green curry. 

22 August 2014: The one curry which tends to appeal even to avowed curry haters is Massaman curry which, unless otherwise requested, is milder than other curries.  It’s also sweeter thanks to the influx of coconut milk, cardamom, cinnamon and sugar.  Xenophobes might be interested to know that one spelling of this curry is derived from an ancient form of the word “Muslim” and in fact, this dish is often referred to as “Muslim curry” in some areas.  It was indeed Muslim traders who brought the spices used in the dish from India and the Middle East to the southern portion of modern day Thailand.  Thai Kitchen’s version includes potatoes, tomatoes and your choice of pork, chicken, beef, tofu or vegetables.  The fragrance emanating from a bowl of Massaman curry is equal to the tongue-titillating flavors of this excellent elixir.

Larb

Larb

30 May 2014: In four visits to Thai Kitchen, my friend Bruce “Sr. Plata” Silver has become so besotted by the spicy jungle noodle dish that he has yet to order any other entree.  It’s a dish as exotic as its name and even more delicious: flat noodles, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and your choice of chicken, beef or pork infused with Thai spices which impart sweet, savory and piquant taste sensations.  The noodles are absolutely perfectly prepared and the vegetables are al dente and fresh. As with the aforementioned green curry, “hot” was discernible, but at this Thai restaurant, pain is not a flavor.
29 November 2017:

Penang Curry

Gervaise would probably have found a myriad of things not to like about the Thai Kitchen (you can’t please some people), but most Duke City diners will thoroughly enjoy the Thai Kitchen, especially if they also love Siam Cafe.

Thai Kitchen
1071 Corrales Road, N.W., Suite 23
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 890-0059
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 29 November 2017
1st VISIT: 30 May 2014
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 22
COST: $$
BEST BET: Spicy Noodle Jungle, Tod Mun Plar, Green Curry, Larb, Massaman Curry, Pork Satay, Penang Curry

Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

29 comments

  • BOTVOLR

    Aah, continues as a warm, not overdone setting, sans fluorescents, with a welcoming and attentive staff. This time as usually a first at most Asian venues, had to do the Sweet n Sour Pork as a ‘traditional basic’ for me. Per my limited experience, I didn’t realize Thai’s are served thinly sliced and naked, not cubed and coated…LOL…albeit I’ve eaten Thai since ’93 and where else but Muffreesboro, TN where it indeed was unique at the time.
    – While my ears perked up a tad when I was asked mild/medium/hot, I deferred asking by thinking “Now that’s unique.” A most generous bowl arrived with traditional veggies including pineapple and while not so sweet as Chinese, the sauce was great which I found made a better accompaniment option than Soy Sauce to the included Jasmime rice. Alas, a few pieces of the pork were a tad chewy. Hopefully, that was an anomaly as TK enjoyed being 3/4 full mid-week at dinner time and I can’t help to think having beer/wine is a draw. In addition however, are the many ‘$10.95 prices as noted on the menu http://tinyurl.com/mhpv448. As such, I was surprised there were not more Folks with kidlets in tow!
    As an aside: next time Y’all do Chinese: Whenever you read your fortune cookie, always add “in bed” at the end for a bit of mirth 99% of the time!

  • FGFABQ

    Bob-A-Loo,
    You seem to allow terms like “Polack” and “Goombah” roll off your tongue as if they are not pejorative terms as in 1. Polish jokes ( two Polacks walked into a bar…….) or 2. Gunfights (hey, goombah, who’re you looking’ at).
    I don’t need any of your web sites references explaining derivations of the two terms, I’m just telling you that where I come from they would cause at least dirty looks and at at worst physical confrontation.
    And I just made the mistake of re-reading your last comment which left me confused and bloodied from scratching my head. Too many references that are too vague for me with just my BA in American Studies.
    You have a particular knack for leaving me dazed and confused.
    By the way, was your reference to Ms. Linda made to get us thinking you had a tryst with the Beav? Could she have a weakness for old muscle cars?
    Or older men? “older” per not dissing you LOL. Albeit true……..

  • BOTVOLR

    No pic at Twin Peaks!!! You’ve got to go back for just that pic to then have it go viral per a waitstaff leaning over asking pristine CB for her order!!!!

    PF Changs Lettuce Wraps: It was such a hoot (shock!?) so many years ago first time watching daughters’ families going ape to order them! It so readily brought to mind, taking Golump(b)ki for granted! (NB: In written form, the ‘L’ has a wavy, but unlike a ‘t’s, line through it to signal pronounciation as a ‘w’ as in ‘wand’.

    Backdrop: Alas, like several ethnic groups have been burdened with stereotypes like Dumb Polack, I can only but wonder if it was because Patriouts Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski (the ‘father of the American Cavalry) were dumb enough to come over here from Poland to help out during our Revolutionary War. Be that as it may, some don’t look beyond some Polish foods to see the shrewdness…vs dumbness…of the creativity of Babcias given the agrarian roots of the Polacks way, way back when. I’m gueesing they figured that given the vagaries/harshness of more northern weather and soil, that cabbage was a heartier veggie to grow than lettuce. As such, it was a natural for cabbage leaves to be used and, to make limited meat go further, nutritious rice was added as a filler to hamburger. To avoid the embarrassment of Big Mouth sloppiness and give a semblance of comfort food, they were baked and eaten with a knife and fork as how cultured Folk would otherwise eat! (Lo, come to think of it, I’m remembering that in the past Folks herein have noted their liking of kelbasi, golump(b)ki and pierogi, but had yet to avow their knowledge of, and I’ll do it phonetically, ‘ga rad ch kee’! Wonder what’s that all about?!
    Na Zdrowie!

  • BOTVOLR

    JM…Alas, Fellow Foggie…did you happen to take a pic of Child Bride at Twin Peaks. That must have been a hoot! If you go to PF Changs during the week, you wont have a seating problem for ‘American Chinese’.

    FGFABQ: While I am thankful I do have some propensity to function in right hemisphere mode, I’m afraid to disappoint re being Suz. Alas, I’m humbled by the accusation tho!
    If it is any consolation to your reference to the “Two characters that you portray…” I must confess that waitstaff easily become discombobulated when I introduce them to my dining companion, Ms. Linda, and they later observe us conversing tete-a-tete!

    Sr. P: Yes, “comfort food” is right on. Think this is the first time I’ve used the term ‘silky’ to describe a food…LOL.
    Not sure what’s in your genre of
    “LA Taste”…and with all due respect to Philippe’s French Dipped…I’ve, sadly, never found a greasier, grilled cheeseburger AND fries (in a basket) than I’d have ‘way back when’ at an Orange Julius’ on Jefferson @ Hoover and especially after a USC defeat of UCLA or Nortre Dame (albeit back in the day they were the Fightin Polacks)!!!!
    “Chow!”

    • Jim Millington

      Bob, I am sorry that I forgot to get her picture at Twin Peaks but it wouldn’t have shown much. I loved the view and despised the food. She was utterly indifferent to the whole thing.

      Speaking of PF Changs, we were there because of their world famous lettuce wraps and I remembered our going to a very packed and very Asian restaurant in the City of Angels. Her sister’s husband and I were obviously the first Gringos to enter in several years. Everyone was downing lettuce wraps which Im Seng insisted was what they were famous for. My bride balked. She referred to them as Big Mouths, undignified to eat in public but eventually relented. Since then I drag her kicking and screaming into any place serving Big Mouths.

  • Is Sr Plata talking about nam pla? I now like it, but on a visit to Thailand it nauseated me. I spent the whole time there with stomach upset. The minute I caught a scent, I was off my feed. Strange. It now seems an important ingredient in Thai dishes.

  • Sr Plata

    Thanks Bob, glad you enjoyed my suggestion. I get concerned my I inherent L.A. Taste may not be for all. I found this dish was now added to my list of comfort foods. I see many people partake there so hoping it will have a lasting place on our beloved west-side. Let’s keep letting new Gil followers know where to eat….

  • FGFABQ

    B-A-L,
    A quote from your comment, “to be able to share it with, oh I don’t know, maybe a dish like Suzie Queue…”.
    Are you holding back the fact you’ve met the elusive, confusive Ms. Queue?
    Or is it something more sinister like YOU, B-A-L, are Ms. Queue?
    Which is it, Bo?
    Two characters that you portray who are nothing like your in person persona.
    Could that be?

  • BOTVOLR

    (Yo Gil, While zero is nothing, it can have great meaning when listed in an address, i.e. the TK’s being 10701. Alas, Google Maps doesn’t think much of 0s either as 1071 will get you close as well…LOL For those who’ve never adventured across the Rio Grande, it’s in the north corner of Old Coors/Corrales Rd-528/Alameda http://tinyurl.com/p2lmy3x across from Hooters where they often have vintage car displays.)

    Per Sr. Plata’s obsession, had The Spicy Noodle Jungle which indeed is a tasty dish. (Speaking of dishes and my reluctance in ordering unidishes, I think it would have been adventurous…to say the least…to have been able to share it with, oh I don’t know, maybe a dish like Suzie Q as it is such a bountiful serving and therefore I could have had a bi-dishes experience, e.g. also sharing their version of Sweet and Sour Pork to compare to P.F. Changs…Oh hush, Y’all have been there at least once!!!
    ~ Not being a Thai expert at any level, the flat noodles seemed exquisitely thin and best described as silky! All in all, the veggies and my choice of beef with “mild” heat proved Sr. Plata correct.
    ~ Pleasantly surprized by the interior as Gil described including there being nichos sorta speak, vs start-ups often being a line of tables booths under the operating room starkness of fluorescents. Of course the mellow jazz added to the ambiance of the room as well.
    ~ Speaking of warmth, while not overly intrusive, “all” the staff are there to serve you as well.
    ~ They’re in the approval process for serving adult beverages.

    • Jim Millington

      Bob, I have to brag that I have NEVER eaten at P F Chang’s-So There! Though we did once stop by but were told it would be a 2-hour wait so we walked across the parking lot to Twin Peaks. It was so wonderful that we have never been back.

  • Morgain

    We were in Albuquerque this past week (Sorry to have missed you, Gil! Let’s try to eat together next time, darn it!). His Royal Highness very much enjoyed the Pad Thai and red curry at Thai Kitchen, as well as the Drunken Noodles at Siam Cafe. Gotta teach ’em young, I say. It was lovely to see Art (that’s his name, isn’t it?) again, and we very much enjoyed the ambiance of this place. I wish him much success!

  • Foodie Star

    Uh-Hmmmm. I’m sure it’s NOT Bill Resnik, says Bill Resnik. I want to nip that one in the bud! I’m not that clever – trust me. My theories?

    I’m thinking that she’s not a regular blogger, someone just having some fun. The regular bloggers all have “tells” and I am not seeing any of them. As much crap as I read as comments on news articles, that would be my top choice.

    Maybe somebody has a split personality and we should call them Sybil Queue.

    Or maybe there is a real Suzie Queue. Occam’s Razor would suggest that. But I couldn’t find a credible Suzie Queue on FaceBook either – at least not one that lives in Albuquerque. So who knows?

    In the words of Ms. Queue: Hasta Lumbago!

  • Bruce Schor

    Looked up Suzie Queue.
    So you are an Indian (dot, not feather) woman who lives in California, and will break a sacred vow and eat beef? Not a vegetarian?
    Or is there another Suzie Queue?
    And you follow a food blog from New Mexico because ________________!
    Fill in the blank SQ, please.
    You made no quirky spelling errors in your last post.
    What’s up with that? You can turn it on and off at will, another talent.
    So you are Bill Resnick.
    Not Sr. Plata because you eat swine I.e. ribs from Burger King.
    Bill Resnick is my final answer.

  • Suzie Queue

    Now you all guys are cracking me up! Look me up on facebook!

  • Nate D

    Suzie, I did try the BBQ pork sandwiches from Burger King once. There’s bad, there’s inedible, and there’s the abomination that is the Burger King BBQ pork sandwich. No one has ever legitimately enjoyed one of those, so if there was ever any doubt about the comic nature of your commentary it forever ended with the endorsement of that monstrosity.

    Schuyler, I truly wish it was me, but being Suzie Queue is in the words of the great George Costanza, not one of the 20 lies I am living. Bruce, you are correct. Suzie is not Bob-a-loo. Suzie’s post are somewhat understandable to the average person, so that should have ruled Bob out a long time ago. I will give you one additional clue for now however…”Suzie” is a man. More clues to follow, however I will say that the pieces to the puzzle can be found in the words of many of Gil’s reviews.

    • Jim Millington

      Suzie is man!?!?!? Who would of thunk it? She sounds like such a hottie. Is there no room for romance in this cold cruel world anymore?

  • Bruce Schor

    Poor Suzie Queue,
    Can’t spell hard words like “talk” or “have” or “about” but has no difficulty with queue, an everyday vocabulary word.
    I’m just saying ……….
    Love the comic relief, don’t understand the need to sound slightly askew.
    So let me reinstate my standing offer to pay for your guest appearance at the next FOG dinner where we will be required to wear name tags.
    How about it, queue-ty. End the mystery, don’t be Gil’s version of the Lock Ness monster or the fabled Yeti. Or Jimmy Hoffa or Judge Crater for that matter.

  • Suzie Queue

    Why are you doing this to me. All i wanted to do is tell people about my best restarants and you are makeing fun of me. You are tlaking about me like Im not even there. I dont think you care about what I hvae to say so.
    Nobody ever says oh Suzie you were so right abot those Burger King BBQ Pork sanwiches – thank you thank you thank you! They just say your Suzie Queue, no you are, no YOU ARE! Dos anybody ever go where I tell them its good? Nooooooo! Its just a bunch of Tormentia!

    • Jim Millington

      I agree with you. I have had a few of your favorites in the past and they were really, really memorable. The Village Person and El Brute are just mean but you can’t really blame them. They simply have no idea how to deal with the vast expanse of your feminine wiles which makes them very afraid and that makes them mean. Bob is more accustomed to less intimidating women like Mrs Beaver and has no idea how to approach you. Please find it in your damaged heart to forgive them.

    • Schuyler

      Suzie Queue might be APS superintendent Luis Valentino. Just look at that scandalous text message of his that was leaked to the public. It’s full of typos, misspelled words, poor grammar…it’s got all the trademark Suzie Queue issues save for the homonym challenges which plague Suzie.

      • BOTVOLR

        Too Funny Schuy!!! I had hoped we were so over the history of flagrantly “abusive?” Superin10dents we’ve let fly with Golden parasails off the top of Sandia Crest. Where is it in State law that whoever partakes of the Public Trough on Public Time gets to hunker down behind “Oh my, its a private, personnel matter!?

  • Bruce Schor

    Come on Nate, give us a clue, make it most obscure if you wish but HELP us!
    I have no idea but I’m sure, or fairly sure it’s not Bob-A-Loo.
    It’s even too cutesy for him.
    We could play 20 questions, animal, vegetable or mineral……
    Help, anyone!

    • Schuyler

      I suspect Nate is “outing” himself. He’s tired of living a lie and being discriminated against for being homonym challenged, a poor speller and horrible at grammar. Nate IS Suzie Queue.

  • Nate D

    Come on people…you too can figure out who Suzie Queue is…there are clues all over the website. Then again, I don’t want her comments to stop. No one else would ask about grilled cheese at a Chinese restaurant.

    • Jim Millington

      I can’t find a single clue nor can I think of anyone who would ask about a grilled cheese at a Chinese restaurant. Maybe BOTVOLR would know.

  • Suzie Queue

    Those fish pancake things look pertty good, but Im not really into Chinese. Do they hve hamburgers or grilled cheese like on a kiddy menue? Then I could eat there.

  • Sarah

    Thanks for the excellent report. We are always looking for new Thai dining spots. We cook Thai food often, and our kids used to say it smelled like stinky feet when we added the fish sauce to our curries. They would leave the room. But they admit they love the end product. Sometimes you have to suffer some bad for the good. I look forward to trying this place. Thanks again.

  • Sr Plata

    Yes, it’s true, only Spicy Jungle Noodle had touched the palate prior to meeting with Gil and Bill. It really is good and one of my favorite things to eat. I am a softy for pasta dishes, it is basic comfort food. I did find the Beef in Green Curry almost as good and may have to order both next time.it was time there to be Thai cuisine on the north west side. Even my 1 year old grandson thought it was tasty when not so spicy, Niño de Plata.

  • I think Gervais disliked the Nam Pla, not cumin. It takes some getting used to. On my visit to Thailand the smell turned my stomach at first. Now you’ll find it in my fridge.

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