|Gin Thai, Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: SW 3rd between Washington and Stark|
|Recommended Dish: Khao Soi|
|Hours: 11am – 4:30pm
||Times Visited: 7|
Occasionally, reviews are difficult to construct because there is little to enjoy, or perhaps, too much. Gin Northern Thai falls into a new category for this reviewer – I can’t stop ordering the same thing! See, the Stumptown Vegans prefer to give you a well-rounded review by sampling multiple dishes on multiple visits. Gin seems to have cast a spell on me, where I look at the short menu, (all of which can be made vegan and with tofu) and my eyes stop while reading Khao Soi, and I start to salivate. After wiping the corners of my mouth, I order. Then, reality strikes, and I realize I’ve ordered the same item four times in a row! Bad reviewer! Bad!
The menu at Gin is different that what you will find at other Thai restaurants or carts – this is Northern Thai, so no Pad See Ew, or Pad Thai. Instead, you’ll see more mild curries and sticky rice over fish sauce and coconut.
This whole review is to write about Khao Soi – my new favorite downtown cart option at any time. This flavorful meal is as tasty as it is aromatic. Angel hair rice noodles are covered in a sweet curry sauce and tofu. Then, a small side of pickled mustard greens is added, then it’s all topped with finely chopped red onion, a lime wedge, fried shallots, chili oil, and cilantro, (if that’s your thing). For $5.50, this dish is presented in a smaller , half-size compostable clam shell container lined with foil, but don’t let it fool you – this is a full meal. Mix the toppings into the curry noodle combo and savor the way the sweet curry sauce mixes with the hot chili and tangy, pickled mustard greens. Take pleasure in the way the smooth and creamy curry soaked noodles enter your mouth, the give of the pickled ginger, and the crunch of the fresh red onion; the perfect combination of textures. For being a simple curry noodle dish, the Khao Soi goes far beyond the expectations of a cart meal.
The Pra Ram is decent in it’s smooth peanut flavor and the Garlic Fried Rice and Lettuce Wraps are good, too, but none of the other dishes have the complex layers of flavors and textures that the Khao Soi has, which is disappointing. I would except the dishes from Gin to be of a greater category after tasting the Khao Soi, so it is disappointing to note that the other dishes are just basic.
There’s no reason not to try this cart, especially now that they have built a small covered deck to greet the rainy season. Order the Khao Soi. Then, on your next visit attempt to order something else – see if it casts the same spell over you. Even if you ask the friendly wait staff what to order, they’ll provide the same recommendation: KHAO SOI! If the spell isn’t cast over you and you want to spend your $5.50 on something else, make sure to ask for it vegan.