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Thai One On: Thailand Plaza

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When I received my Thai One On assignment I was pretty pumped. Online Yelp reviews had unanimously agreed that Thailand Plaza has some of the best food and service around. Maybe that's why my experience at Thailand Plaza was such a disappointing one--my expectations going in were way too high.

Not so say that everything about my Thailand Plaza dining experience was bad; parking was free with validation. Bonus!

However aside from free parking, dining at Thailand Plaza in a word, sucked.

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Everything seemed fine when we walked in. The restaurant is large, spacious and relatively clean (aside from the dirty looking upholstered chairs, which one of my dining partners thought she was going to catch a disease from). The hostess was friendly and sat us at a table beside the window where we could enjoy the view of Hollywood Boulevard at night. Our server promptly took our drink and appetizer orders, both of which were brought out without delay.

We started off with Silver & Gold Baskets, deep fried ground pork and chopped shrimp, wrapped in a wonton wrap and served with sweet chili sauce. These proved to be a decent start to the meal and although they were a little bit greasier than I like, they filled the gap as we waited for our main courses.

Little did we know, those fried pork sacks would be the best part of the night.

Before I go any further let me just give you one more little informing fact about Thailand Plaza. I had heard, prior to visiting the restaurant, that Thailand Plaza is known for its “entertainment.” I put entertainment in quotations not because it's in any way inappropriate or pornographic, but because I question whether the atrocious musical acts that appear on-stage at Thailand Plaza actual qualify as being entertaining. In fact, despite my deep love and respect for fellow Canadian Bryan Adams, as my other companions put it, “[i]f I have to hear ANOTHER Bryan Adams cover tonight, I'm going to LOSE it!”

And so began the evening's downfall.

After finishing our appetizers we awaited the return of our server to take our orders. Only he never came. We waited and waited, searching the room for any sign of him, but there was none. As all of the other tables around us were waited on we just sat there, hoping that someone might notice that we had been staring at our empty appetizer plates for twenty minutes.

That's when we saw him.

Standing on-stage, microphone in hand, was our server.

“Maybe he'll just do one song, then come take our order,” we all hoped.

“Maybe he'll just do two songs, then come take our order.”

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No luck.

Five lousy lounge songs later, our server was still on-stage, and we had yet to place our order.

Finally, we decided to take matters into our own hands and went to the kitchen to place the orders ourselves (I'm not joking here). From their extensive menu I ordered the Tom Yum Krung, hot and spicy soup with mushrooms and shrimp, while my dining partners chose Kang Mussaman Kai, mussaman curry with chicken, potato, and onions, and Pad See-Ew, pan friend flat noodles with broccoli and sweet soy sauce, served with your choice of beef, chicken or shrimp.

Once again our food arrived promptly and we dug in.

The soup was okay, a little hotter than anticipated (I asked for mild- they gave me at least medium), but overall the flavors were good and the shrimp were plump and delicious.

Mussaman curry is usually one of my favorite Thai dishes- but I did not love Thailand Plaza's offering. The biggest problem with the dish was that it was extremely spicy. Now, I'm all about food that packs a little heat, but the menu clearly stated that this dish would not spicy. This did not bode well for my sensitive paleted companion who ordered the dish but was barely able to make it through the first few bites.

The Pad See-Ew was equally uninspiring. The flavors were muddy and the only thing I could really taste was the soy. “A big plate of MSG,” is how one of my dining partners would later describe it.

After sampling each of these less than delicious dishes, all three of us were ready to call it a night.

But wait. Where's our server?

Oh yes, still on-stage, singing his little heart out.

And so, for the second time, we headed to the kitchen to ask for the bill. And then a third time, to pay the bill. Apparently service is NOT as strong a feature of Thailand Plaza as I was led to believe.

We finally made it out of the restaurant just as our server was finishing his set with one final rendition of Bryan Adams “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman.”

Needless to say, aside from the free parking and reasonably priced menu, Thailand Plaza is not somewhere I would recommend to anyone. That is, unless they really like Bryan Adams....

Thailand Plaza
5321 Hollywood Boulevard
(323) 993-9000

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