This Thai House Express (now House of Thai) San Francisco Restaurant Review is part of a San Francisco trip report. For the prior posts, see:
Years ago when I lived in the Bay Area, a favorite late night or cheap dinner spot for my friends and me was Thai House Express, at 901 Larkin Street at Geary. No, it's not the most gourmet Thai restaurant, but it's fantastic value for money (helped no doubt by its low rent location in the Tenderloin) and so it's no surprise that the restaurant is still there, albeit under a slightly different name: House of Thai, instead of Thai House Express.
After experiencing some of Peter Morrison's close up magic at the Marrakech Magic Theater (just for us, since the original show we planned to see was cancelled) I took the munchkin by the hand and we walked over to Thai House Express for dinner. As we entered, it wasn't hard to see the place was already decked out for Halloween (see the spiders?)
After we walked in, and as the munchkin needed the bathroom pronto, we borrowed the bathroom key (which again says something about the neighborhood–locked bathrooms that guests need a key to use). When we returned to the dining room, we were seated at a comfortable corner table, given water and menus.
There are a number of Thai salads–I've had the larb in the past and it's very good, although not quite as good as Pestle Rock in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.
Soups, such as Tom Kha Gai, are also well done here:
On the menu of curries, my favorite remains the pumpkin red curry:
We placed our order, and in about 10 minutes, our food arrived, piping hot. The munchkin was very happy with his Gai Yang, marinated barbecued chicken, which was moist and succulent.
Although sticky rice is more typically eaten with larb, the munchkin and I both enjoyed sticky rice with our entrees. It came rather unconventionally wrapped in plastic wrap and then in foil, although in Thailand it's served in cute steamer containers.
I ordered my favorite pumpkin red curry, and our server was kind enough to have the kitchen make it with duck, even though it wasn't offered on the menu. I'd ordered it medium spicy, and it was the perfect spice level.
Portions are generous here, so it helps to come with a group so that you can order “family style” and try a number of dishes. Count on ~$15 per person for food, excluding drinks and tip.
The Verdict: House of Thai (formerly Thai House Express) is a great bargain Thai place in San Francisco, whether you need a cheap but filling lunch or dinner on budget or are hungry at 11pm, after most San Francisco restaurants are already closed. My recommendations: Larb with sticky rice, Tom Kha Gai, Pumpkin Curry, Gai Yang, Pad Moo Grob, Mango with Sweet Sticky Rice.
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