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Bottom line: There are many other worthy Thai restaurants in the QC
Bangkok Ocha is a small restaurant in a strip mall on Pineville-Matthews road. I was excited about trying it because a friend had referred me to it. I am a huge fan of Thai food. I definitely could eat it every day! I decided to give Bangkok Ocha a try for lunch on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. Bear with me and I will explain that last comment.
Upon walking into the restaurant you will see a modestly sized restaurant similar to the many family owned restaurants around town. It was a gorgeous day outside but they had shades on the windows and low lighting which made it somewhat dark. Perhaps it will make for a romantic setting at night? The place is not new but it was neat and clean. I was told to sit down at a small table and the waiter came over and took my drink order. For some reason, he assumed I wanted sweet tea rather than asking me what I wanted (I know we are in the South, but really?).
When I was seated I was only provided with a lunch menu which was very limited (Yes, I know it was lunch time but I wanted to try other selections rather than their limited menu). They do serve their regular menu during the day but in this instance I had to ask for it.
When the waiter came back to take my food order he was very pushy and actually flipping the pages for me as I looked through the menu; not in a slow explanatory manner but rather pushing me to make a decision. I finally had to give my appetizer order and ask for a minute so that I could peacefully flip through the menu.
When my drink came, water, I wasn’t even given a straw. The waiter certainly took his time to come back and take my order because he was too busy talking to someone sitting at another table. No, he wasn’t even taking their order. When he finally came back not even a smile was spared (Yes, I was an extremely…ahem…unhappy foodie at this point). Now I consider myself a really friendly person and even my friendly demeanor (despite my annoyance) wasn’t doing anything for this guy.
I finally placed my order and asked for brown rice instead of white. They do not offer it which is not a big deal but just be prepared if that’s your preference. My appetizer, fresh rolls, finally arrived after a 15 min wait. The rolls were filled with noodles, lettuce, shrimp, and basil leaves. The rolls were standard. Nothing special about them except that they were big (gluttony in full force here). The peanut sauce was like every other but they did serve it with a topping of peanuts and spicy sauce. I thought this was a nice touch. One thing that I have learned with my fresh roll obsession is that I prefer Thai chili sauce for dipping rather than the traditional peanut sauce.
I do feel the need to mention that as I sat there waiting for my food (30 minutes and counting!) I did see the restaurant fill up and the pushy waiter was certainly more friendly to those that came in and looked like regulars (I am making this assumption based on the greetings observed). It was hard for me to sit there and understand why he couldn’t spread the love with everyone. Did he not want to make a regular out of me?
My food finally arrived. I ordered a stir fried dish made with a red bean curry sauce, vegetables, and beef. This dish was small pieces of beef cooked in the red bean sauce and served with string beans, carrots, mushrooms, red/green peppers, and basil leaves. The flavors were familiar but the sauce tasted more tomato based rather than red bean curry and the meat was really chewy, not very tender. I felt more like a cow chewing pasture at that point.
This is my recommendation to you, go ahead, give it a try, and judge for yourself. One thing is certain though, this foodie will stick to many of the other fabulous Thai eateries in town.