Thai-o-rama: Sala Thai

Prompted by item 7 on Margo Mallar’s 2009 culinary bucket list a group of Portland food writers are working together to eat and write our way through all of the Thai restaurants in Portland. This gives us a reason to try out the full breadth of Thai food in the  city and gives everyone a way to read multiple points of view of the same restaurant at the same time.
Sala Thai on Washington Ave was our first stop and five food writers have published so far; I’ll add links below as other posts appear. The reviews seemed to be mixed:
Portland Food Heads writes “the folks at Sala Thai are putting out solid food that happens to be worthy of attention” and enjoyed the Pad Thai which “Happily, Sala Thai does the dish correctly.”
Appetite Portland and her husband didn’t enjoy the Pad Thai but did wrote that they “fared much better with the Tamarind Duck. Served in a tangy (if not exactly spicy) brown sauce, the duck was well-seasoned, perfectly roasted, and boasted just the right amount of fat.”
Columnist Margo Mallar from the Portland Daily Sun visited Sala Thai for a pair of lunches. She reports disappointment in the texture of her Pan Fried Noodles but enjoyed The Ginger-Scallion Tofu, “nicely marinated soy curds in a sauce that was well balanced between pungent and mellow.”
Edible Obsessions has gone experimental in her form by posting the notes of her visit. If I’m able to decipher her hand writing it looks like the she found the atmosphere “odd but nice…without being campy” and that the most notable dish was gorgeous with lots of vegetable but packed more of a heat punch then expected.
The Blueberry Files ordered a mix of plates including her favorite Thai dish Laab Gai. She writes “while I wasn’t disappointed, this Laab Gai didn’t quite live up to my (admittedly high) expectations. It could have used more veggies underneath, and while I got a great lemongrass zing every other bite, I wasn’t blown away by the seasonings.”
Where is Jenner’s Mind rated her meal at Sala Thai as “good, but standard. all the food was flavorful, but other than the dumplings, nothing stood out”. With regard to the dumplings she wrote, they were “pan fried to a beautiful crisp, and topped with little bits of fried garlic. i tried to scoop up as many bits of garlic onto my dumpling before dipping it into a slightly sweet tamarind sauce.”
For my part I’d say the food was good overall, but what stands out more for me were the friendly attentive service and the atmosphere, PFH called it “not unlike sitting down in sitting down in the living room of an elderly relative” and I’d agree.

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