When done right, Thai cuisine is hands-down my favourite among Asia's diverse regional varieties. The unique blend of spicy, sweet and sour ingredients has a way of awakening and tantalizing my senses. During my twenty-three years in Montreal, I have sampled numerous Thai restaurants across both ends of the price spectrum.
The two sides have seen a changing of the guard over the decades, with Bangkok making way for Mae Sri on the affordable side, while the bygone Red Thai and Chao Phraya have ceded to Pamika and Pick Thai on the upscale end. The latter of these occupies a utilitarian location facing metro Vendôme and the MUHC Glen site; and has quickly developed a local following while charming critics since its opening in 2014.
A dinner at Pick Thai three years ago left me wondering what all the fuss was about. I vaguely recall pricey dishes lacking that boldness I associate with Thai food; the whole experience left me underwhelmed. Tonight, I would either confirm this initial assessment or reverse it, by picking up some takeout on this frigid Saturday night.
Pick's long menu covers the staples of Thai food such as satay chicken, papaya salad, pad thai, curries and more. Prices can reach $18 for salads, $24 for noodles and $48 for a filet mignon, taken from the menu's grill section.
A fragrant mix of minced beef and mushroom is stuffed into crispy samosas with a solid casing. The curry flavour stands its own, making the sweet dip unnecessary.
I'm a sucker for larb salad, normally made with beef. This one introduced some fattiness by using duck and had the requisite minty vibrancy, but needed more heat.
Normally a complex soup putting to use galangal, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass; this one was overly sweet somehow, with nothing but the coconut milk standing out.
This time we have a winner with a magnificently-sour and spicy soup which exemplifies Thai food. I could slurp this broth and suck on those shrimps all night.
We ended with a rich yellow curry featuring chicken, carrots and potatoes swimming in a creamy coconut/curry sauce boasting an exquisite hint of tamarind tanginess.
tagged: GOOD FOR SHARING
Since takeout is the focal point of this writeup, Pick Thai's interior has so far been sidestepped, which is unfortunate given this is one stylish eatery. The divided space is ornately done using wood carvings, golden statues and matching accents.
Although some of the dishes I had missed the mark, the ones which worked REALLY worked. Still, something feels amiss when one must spend upwards of $100 to feed two people in their home, without the ability to enjoy these chic surroundings. Let's just say this is more of a sit-down restaurant…
tagged: PLAN B.
Price per person: $29.75
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.