REVIEW: Bangkok Avenue Thai Cuisine | Thousand Oaks, CA.


RESTAURANT REVIEW


I found this restaurant on Yelp. It was labeled as "Hot and New" which is what I'm always looking for and if I "checked in" on yelp, you get a complimentary Thai Ice Tea (my favorite) or Thai Ice Coffee.
They are located in the Select Plaza and nestled between my favorite donut shop, Donut Depot and Rhineland Deli. The location was formerly known as Los Agaves Mexican Grill.

I came here around 4:30pm and my visit was unannounced. I walked in with another couple so the place was empty with only the 3 of us. By the time I left, people were arriving because it's dinner time so it was half way full. All types of people came in, from singles, couples and then families.

I was greeted warmly and seated. I took my time looking over the menu since there was plenty to choose from. I ordered the complimentary Thai Ice Tea from my Yelp check in.

I don't eat Thai food because I was told they like to make it spicy, but this restaurant makes a point of making their dishes to as mild or spicy as the customers want it. It took me 10 minutes to decide because I was torn between 2 noodle dishes. Since I'm allergic to seafood, I knew their Pad Thai would have fish sauce in it. When I spoke to my waitress, she confirmed that it was part of the dish. Then she asked me what I cannot eat and how spicy I liked my food. She suggested the Kai Kua because it was mild and she will inform the chef not to add oyster sauce to the dish. That was perfect.

FOOD
I ordered the Kai Kua with Chicken, Crispy Duck with plum sauce and Brown Rice, and their Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice Cream for dessert.

My entire meal came out quickly, hot and still steaming, and the dessert was cold and refreshing. I love it when I can watch the steam rise from my food, which indicates it was just plated within 5-10 minutes and then served to me.


Kai Kua with Chicken - $9.95

This is the first time that I've tried this dish. Wide flat rice noodles, raw thinly sliced carrots as a garnish, bean sprouts, green onions, crispy lettuce and scrambled eggs. The menu didn't mention the lettuce, but it was a nice surprise since it was still crispy and not wilted. All of the vegetables were still a bit crunchy which gave the entire dish a nice texture between that and the softness of the noodles, chicken, and eggs. The chicken and eggs were cooked properly, moist and flavorful. A mild dish, the combination of the flavors and texture made it a hearty and tasty meal. This can serve up to 2-3 people.


Crispy Duck with Plum Sauce - $16.95
This dish is made to serve 2-4 people. It's 1/2 a duck, fried to a delicious crispiness. The skin was crunchy like a toughened pork rind with a little duck fat still attached when I pulled it apart from the meat. 


The meat itself was a tad dry but not too bad. I expected this because every time I get fried duck, it tends to do that. The meat was flavorful with the gaminess of the duck. When I dipped it in the plum sauce and combined with the crispy skin and brown rice, the dryness was not noticeable and was delectable. 


As long as the duck meat was combined with some sort of moisture such as a sauce, soup, or broth, the meat absorbs the moisture and makes it juicy. The plum sauce has a little bit of heat which was nice flavor between the sweetness and spiciness.


Brown Rice - $2
(this came with the duck, the price is if you order it separately)

A good portion for 1 serving, it was the size of a softball. Cooked properly, fluffy, had the correct amount of moisture so it wasn't too dry or sticky, had a nice nutty flavor, a slight crunchy texture and unseasoned (which I like).



Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice Cream - $6.95
I originally requested for Sticky Rice and Mango but they didn't have any ripe mango's at that moment. So I chose this dessert to end my meal. I wasn't quite sure how this was going to be served to me so I was surprised to see that they put the ice cream on top of the warm sticky rice. This also had a nice texture of cold and warmth, soft and crunchy and a balanced sweetness. The coconut ice cream was refreshing, wonderful coconut flavor, and was the size of a softball. The sticky rice is made from black rice (that's why it's purple in color) and based on the flavor profile, I think the rice was cooked in coconut milk or coconut cream. It was warm and sticky but not overly sweet. It was also garnished with chopped, roasted and salted peanuts.


The combination of all flavors was delicious. My first thought was "comfort food". When I was child, my mom made a dessert similar to this. It was made of rice but cooked in the consistency of porridge and then she added chocolate. If it was too thick, I thinned it out with milk. This was almost a deconstructed type of that dessert. Since I couldn't eat my dessert fast enough, the ice cream slowly melted and pooled around the sticky rice. This is why it reminded of the chocolate porridge dessert.


Thai Ice Tea - $3 
(complimentary with Yelp Check In at the time of this article)

This is one of my favorite drinks, especially if I can get it with boba. This didn't have boba but it was delicious. It had a stronger Thai Tea flavor and a bit thicker, which I'm guessing it's the type of cream/milk they used. Very refreshing and ice cold. Served in a mason jar.

They also offer alcohol, sodas, teas, and coffee.








PRICE
The price is fair for the good quality of food and the portion sizes. All of their food minimally feeds 2 people. I had plenty of left overs to share with my family.

AMBIANCE
This is a small and casual restaurant. Outside is plain because it matches the Select Plaza decor but inside is a nice blend of casual and modern decor. It's very simple and has a clean look (which I like). It doesn't have that Thai/Asian fan fare that I'm used to seeing when I go to any Asian restaurant (religious statues, gold and red decor, alters, etc.). The ceiling has wooden beams and white foam tiles, 1/4 of the walls (near the ceiling) is decorated with wooden and mirror panels which I've never seen before, the rest of the walls were painted a simple beige color. The entire restaurant was accented with the dark mahogany wooden tables with black metal bases, black wooden chairs, red/black leather booth seating against one side of the wall, grey (granite?) tiled floors, and a mini bar counter painted in black and accented with grey toned tiles. Behind the bar was a red brick wall with "Bangkok Avenue" in large white letters. Next to the wall is the entry way into their kitchen.

The tables were adorned with ceramic egg shaped salt/pepper shakers and a fake small potted plant. The restrooms were also nicely decorated to match the restaurant. The entire place was very clean and organized. The temperature was just right unless you sat next to the window like me and it started to get hot when the sun was setting. I asked my waitress to pull their shades down and she happily accommodated. That made the rest of my time more comfortable.

They had a chalk board with their daily specials hand written on it, but they hung it on the same wall as their entry way. Where I sat, I never noticed it until the other waitress pointed it out to me. I recommend they move it near the bar area so that everyone can see it quickly and take advantage of it.

Music was average in noise and they played a nice mix of Asian and English lyric songs. Even though I couldn't understand the Asian music, based on the tunes it was modern and was pleasant to listen to.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
5 Star Rating
Both waitress were friendly, attentive, helpful and humble (which is rare, even at the most posh restaurants that I have dined at). I enjoyed my entire meal without my waitress overly intrusive. She checked on me to make sure that I was happy, refilled my water and when I was ready to leave, packed all of my food (not just handing me the boxes and a bag so I can do it myself). I observed both ladies as I ate and they gave the same care and attentiveness that they gave to me, to the other customers. They cleaned the dirty tables quickly and was keeping an eye on everyone to make sure that they went to them when summoned.

PARKING
There is plenty of free parking because it is situated inside a medium size plaza with other eateries and retail stores. It is well lit at night but depending what time you arrive, you might have a little trouble finding parking.

CONCLUSION
5 Star Rating
I know they are new (opened on April 27, 2015) but if they keep up the same great customer service, good food and fair prices, they should be here for awhile. People like all 3 attributes and will come far for a good meal. I will come back and take advantage of their Lunch Special and try the rest of the other dishes.

Lunch Special (at the time of this article, call the restaurant to confirm)
$8.95
Your choice of chicken/pork/beef/tofu or add shrimp for $2
Served with soup, salad, and white rice

Available Monday-Friday from 11am-3pm, except holiday:
Choices:
Spicy Basil
Cashew Nut
Garlic & Pepper
Ginger Ginger
Veggies Delight
Panang Curry
Yellow Curry
Pad Thai

Take Out is also available, call to expedite your order.

OTHER INFORMATION
Los Agaves Mexican Grill closed in February 2014 after 10 years. In 2013, they operated as Portofino Italian Bistro that lasted for 3 months. The current owners is a group that includes Siwaporn Boonpiem, Wantana Wuttipinikul and others.


2350 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA. 91362
(805) 379-9961




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