Thai Kitchen is a leader downtown.
Thai Kitchen is located at 327 Dean McGee in downtown Oklahoma City (map). They are open Monday through Saturday, serving lunch from 11am (noon on Saturday) to 3pm and dinner from 5pm to 9pm. Contact them at 405.236.0229.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? For me, it’s Pad Thai. Of all the Asian food varieties, Thai is my favorite, so you can understand why I have spent a good amount of time trying many of Oklahoma City’s Thai restaurants. So far, Thai Kitchen is winning.
Besides the great food, I like Thai Kitchen for its courage. This little restaurant sits near the Arts District downtown, not too far from the art museum and the downtown library. If you’ve ever been to that area, you know there aren’t many other restaurants around, and the ones that are there only open at lunch or maybe on certain evenings to accommodate the Civic Center crowds.
But Thai Kitchen breaks the mold, staying open for lunch and dinner (until 9pm!) every day except Sunday. Sure, they’re building a pretty major apartments complex (Arts Quarter) next door, which should be great business for Thai Kitchen, but that project is at least 6 months to completion yet Thai Kitchen is already there, open and serving up great dishes day and night. As a person who lives near downtown, I very much appreciate this opportunity to find good food downtown in the evenings and on the weekends. Thai Kitchen, may your tribe increase!
Ok, so now to the food. There are other good Thai places in the city, but Thai Kitchen simply adds that extra bit of flavor to every bite. I judge things mostly by the Pad Thai, and theirs is right on. The noodles are moist but not all clumpy or drenched in extra sauce. The flavors are a great blend with just a hint of sweetness that doesn’t overpower. Sometimes I order chicken into the mix and whatever they do back there adds a nice smokiness and flavor to the meat.
At lunch, Thai kitchen usually offers a buffet option ($6.99) which includes Pad Thai and a variety of other specialties. The Pad Thai on the lunch buffet doesn’t include meat, so if you need it with meat, you have to order off the menu. Luckily, they offer a host of lunch specials ($5.95) including Pad Thai with meat. It’s a tough call. Either get Pad Thai with meat, or get the meatless version and the chance to sample everything else. I’d say if it’s your first time, definitely get the buffet so you can taste it all.
So what’s the downside? Well, the atmosphere isn’t anything to write home about. The room is a bit run down and the collection of very plain restaurant booths and tables have holes and duct-tape patches of various shapes and sizes. I guess it could be kind of hip if they were going for the sort of intentionally run-down look, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s intentional. But, for me, this all just kind of adds to the fun. It’s all a part of the surprise of finding such great food in such an unlikely location.
The only other issue is that the popularity of this little place sometimes works against it. Sometimes the lunch rush can overtake the buffet line and leave you waiting five or ten minutes for it to be replenished. But generally the wait staff is nice enough to let you know when your favorite dish has been refreshed on the line, so have patience, OKC. Bring a friend or spouse and think of the buffet down time as quality time together. Thai Kitchen is definitely worth the wait.