Thai Palace: a diamond hidden in the strip mall rough.
Ever looked down a stretch of road and seen nothing but the same old, same old? Burger joints, taco parlors, pizzerias — all featuring familiar names and mediocre flavors. At some point, you have to try something new and I’ve got just the place. It’s one of the very best in my opinion. It’s called Thai Palace.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside – just another strip mall restaurant with its name spelled out in boring, green block-letters. The inside doesn’t inspire much either. White cloth on the tables, pictures that fade into the walls as decorations, and what appears to be just a single employee. That’s Nick.
Nick is going to blow your mind.
Formerly the owner of Sala Thai (down in the Asian District), Nick started Thai Palace a few years ago and brought all his recipes with him. I mean ALL of them. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the menu. It puts the Cheesecake Factory to shame with its size and variety. The only difference is, Nick cooks food you want to eat.
Between 11am and 1pm, Thai Palace features a buffet of rotating entrees, rice and soup for $6. It’s not all-you-can-eat. In fact, you can’t even try everything on the buffet on one dish. But don’t worry, it’s still a heck of a deal. You’ll get plenty of food and these are authentic Thai dishes prepared by a master of his craft.
If you don’t want the buffet or if you come for dinner, there’s that massive menu to satiate your appetite. The green curry vegetables are amazing, with veggies still crisp and fresh and a sauce that is as complex as it is delicious. If you want it hot (and Nick will ask how hot you like it), it can sear your mouth shut. I’ve eaten with some friends who dial it up so high they are blowing their noses after every bite. Despite all the pain, though, nobody ever leaves food on their plate.
Personally, I tend toward a less-scalding experience, especially with some classic dishes like Pad Thai. I’ve had Pad Thai from lots of places and it’s not always good. Some Pad Thai is so sweet you might as well be eating candy. Other places it’s so bland it tastes like it was born in a cardboard box. Not at Thai Palace. They hit it right on the mark, blending sweet and savory. If you don’t like the Pad Thai here, you just don’t like Pad Thai.
There are a couple of drawbacks to Thai Palace. One is the overly vast menu with too many choices. The other is an impatient chef. Nick is in the business of getting you your food fast, so if you don’t order when he comes to you, it might take a while for him to return.
But if you can put up with the idiosyncrasies of a one man show, you will be rewarded with a great treat. Thai cuisine is definitely a step outside the ordinary. And for the real Thai experience — the soups, the curries, the stir-fry, the noodles and the deep, hot spices — there’s no place in Oklahoma City that compares to Thai Palace.