I had dinner at Thip Khao with my girlfriends Katie and Kathy on 3-18-2017. It’s one of their favorite restaurants and it’s easy to see why: it’s low key, not terribly expensive and quite good, plus the staff is super friendly.
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5
Food & Drink: 4 out of 5
Getting a reservation here was a a little tricky, not because they were booked but because it was hard to get a hold of anyone. They only take reservations over the phone and only between the hours of 12-4pm. I had to call four times to finally reach someone. However they’re ultra responsive on social media and tweeted back almost immediately.
The space has a lot of light wood and soft light. Between those elements and the somewhat hard booth that lines the perimeter it reminded me a bit of Tail Up Goat inside. Surprisingly, this is also apparently a great place for large parties. The space is deceptively big, despite the cozy feel, and there were actually five such parties while we were there.
The restaurant is named after the small straw baskets that hold the sticky rice typically eaten with Laotion food.
Surprise! The sticky rice is purple!
The rice is typically used to eat the food by hand, which the servers’ shirts depict along with the caption, “Food tastes better when eaten with your hands.” The front of the menu also features a tutorial.
And with that background out of the way, onto the food itself.
Front – Green Mango (chili-infused vodka, mango puree, gingambere, lime, basil). This was obviously spicy and the mango puree was a little thick. However the flavor was unique and pretty darn good. Once I diluted it a little with club soda I liked it even more.
Back left- Thap Thim (rye, pomegranate molasses, Averna, seltzer). This was kind of like a whisky sour but very whisky-y. I didn’t love it but that’s mainly because I’m not a big whisky gal.
Back right- Tunnels and Rope (tequila, grapefruit, lime, angostura). This was AMAZING and probably my favorite part of the whole meal. Ingredients-wise it’s similar to a margarita but tasted like a carbonated limeade. I wanted to steal Katie’s so I’d definitely get this next time. .
This was a little amuse-bouche of cucumber with Lao chili paste. It was spicy but good. I couldn’t eat all my paste though–lightweight!
Naem Khao (crispy coconut rice, sour pork, lime, scallion, peanut, cilantro). These are actually lettuce wraps, which are always fun to build and eat. I could mainly taste the rice, peanut and cilantro, and the whole thing was kind of like comfort food.
Muu Som (rice-cured sour pork belly, ginger, garlic, onion, bell pepper, hon shimeji, dried chili, kaffir lime, fried onion). This was good. The server warned me it would be a little oily due to the curing process and then being sauteed. It did kind of taste like an oily stir fry and, while the flavors weren’t super crazy interesting, the pork belly was really good.