Rearn Thai is a small Thai restaurant immediately south of and across the street from the St. Louis County Courts parking garage in Clayton, Missouri. I just learned of its existence this week.
Rearn Thai has more outdoor seating than indoor. The outdoor seating was pleasant and mostly shaded. The indoor decor was handsome, and the setting indoors was subdued without being dull. Water glasses were refilled quickly. The staff was friendly and unobtrusive. After a slow start, service was prompt.
Now for the bad news.
Rarely have I had such a disappointing lunch at a Thai restaurant.
The price was over $15 plus tip, though I should note that the entree was from the dinner menu. Still, that's not a cheap lunch.
I ordered two things: (1) an appetizer of two fried spring rolls, and (2) pad Thai.
The fried spring rolls were actually doughy inside, although the surface was brown and crispy. The stuffing was nearly tasteless. The thin sweet sauce was served in a tiny and inadequate portion, and was not very sweet or even very noticeable.
Pad Thai is how I measure a Thai restaurant. I love the dish beyond all reason; whenever I go out of town on business, I have a rarely broken custom of finding a Thai restaurant the first night and ordering pad Thai.
Rearn Thai's version of pad Thai started off reasonably well, with a smoky taste that reminded me of premium soy sauce (not a typical ingredient of the dish, but not totally off the wall). Beyond that....nothing. It had all the right main ingredients -- egg, shrimp, bean sprouts, ground peanuts, etc. -- but none of the taste. Hardly any fish sauce taste, no sweet taste, no tart taste. No spiciness (and I'm no fan of heat). It was just...blah.
Here's how forgettable the pad Thai was: I ate only half the serving (which was a standard-sized one), and asked them to provide a take-home box for the rest, which they quickly did. I put the rest into the box and headed back to the parking garage less than two blocks away. By the time I was halfway to the garage, I was wondering if I should just toss the box of pad Thai into the nearest trash can. I didn't. But when I got home, I had changed my mind, and the pad Thai I brought home went into the garbage.
Too bad. I really wanted to like this restaurant, because I love Thai food and it's a treat to find a new place. But I won't be going back to Rearn Thai. The food is just not worth the effort.
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