Look for Thai Bamboo Bistro
A couple months passed between our sees to Thai Bamboo Bistro, and this time, on our 3rd stop, we understood a bit more.
Sometimes, a bit more details threatens and just enough to convince you not to go back to a restaurant.
Not this time.
Our first check out was on a summer season Monday. We were a little ahead of the lunch rush, our 2-year-old was a little subdued, and so we gambled on a place we had actually discovered in the new Quail Hill Village shopping mall in Irvine, not far from where the San Diego (I-405) and Santa Ana (I-5) Highways converge in central Orange County, California.
The center emerged in the shadow of the Shady Canyon estates relatively overnight. It runs out the method– you do not just occur by.
It remains in among those new-generation neighborhood centers that has an all-too-familiar feel about it: anchor grocery store on one end, Starbucks on the other, generic fast-food and fast-casual restaurants in between. This one was a little different– some of the franchise names were not so common, and it appeared that the Irvine Co. took a chance and leased to some non-franchise operators, too.
We ventured into the bistro, and within 10 minutes, the intimate place was packed. So loaded, we rapidly changed our sit-down order to to-go, hustled our now not-so-subdued little guy out and headed home to the most delicious take-out we ‘d had in months.
Jungle curry with chicken ($12) was mellow and smooth (we ordered the milder green curry; yellow and red are readily available). Hot lemon turf chicken ($12) was tangy and fresh. Standard pad thai ($11)– my wife’s standard– aromatic and generously portioned with shrimp, egg, tofu and noodles.
So, we went back, this time for supper, without the kid.
Again, the restaurant was full, though minus the infuriating lunch crush. Once again, our supper was scrumptious: more green curry and pad thai– we’re animals of habit.
We were struck by the cool, modern room, with its handful of bamboo decorative touches. By the quickly efficient service (though the meals can arrive at a more sluggish pace, statement to the fresh cooked-to-order cooking area). And by the incredibly fresh components, rendered in light sauces.
The chef markets practically daily, co-manager Jade Tam told me. In some cases the grocery, in some cases a specialized shop, in some cases a farmers market.
Then, well, life kept us away for a few months, up until I talked with manager Amy Lam.
As we chatted about the restaurant’s growth plans and presentation styles, Amy asked, “Do you know Julie and Pat?” Well, yes
, I said, we’re going to their wedding event in a day.
“We haven’t seen them in a while,” Amy said, laughing. Julie alerted they ‘d be absent for a while, something about pre-wedding fasting.
I understand Julie’s taste in food and dining establishments just well sufficient that this little nugget of details– that she and Pat are regulars enough to be on a first-name basis– informed me to obtain back in there, pronto.
We were again wowed by fresh flavors. We started with the Thai bamboo sampler appetizer ($14), a mix of 4 from the menu (spring rolls, summer rolls, chicken and beef satay, and gold bags– crispy wontons tied up like little Gold Rush-era treasures).
Our shrimp in spicy mango sauce ($16) was sweet, but subtle. We upgraded from the basic pad thai, buying the “new edition” version (egg noodles instead of rice noodles. $11).
It will not be such a long haul for our next meal here.