268 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12305
Date visited: Friday, 6/24/05
Type of eatery: Thai Restaurant
Dish I ordered: Chicken Pad Thai Crazy Bowl
What I got: A satisfying portion of lightly-pan-fried noodles mixed with shreds of dried radish, bits of fried tofu, juicy chunks of chicken, and pieces of fried egg, topped liberally with crushed peanuts and sliced scallions.
Price paid: $6.95
At the corner of State and Erie in Schenectady I found one of the few Thai restaurants in the area. The NY Capital District has lots of Chinese and has a fair selection of Japanese/Sushi, but other Asian cuisines are sadly underrepresented.
Bangkok Bistro is located in an old downtown building, and the restaurant preserves the traditional American architecture of the building: Attractively paneled walls, original ornamented ceilings, period paintings (which appear to have come with the building), etc. Although I appreciate an ethnically-decorated restaurant, there's something very metropolitan and attractive about a restaurant that preserves the hole-in-the-wall feel of 19th-century architecture while offering a spacious dining area and plenty of breathing room. Lighting in Bangkok Bistro is dark and cozy, with deliberate accent lighting dangling from the ceiling; tables, chairs, and carpeting are deeply-colored and warm.
I arrived at about five minutes to noon. The host met me as I entered, and I was immediately seated and given a menu. Within a couple of minutes, my water glass was filled and my order was taken. After a reasonable wait (about 8 minutes), my meal was served to me.
Contrary to the name "Crazy Bowl," the dish was served on a place. It was deceptively large; it appeared small on first glance, but the noodles, radish, tofu, chicken, and egg were all mixed together into a single, dense mound, attractively topped with liberal amounts of crushed peanuts and crisp scallion pieces. Adorning the dish was a piece of carrot decoratively sliced into the shape of a flower.
The dish was quite flavorful. Cool, crisp radish mingled freely with tender, mildly sweet noodles; chicken was juicy, flavorful, and cut into bite-sized pieces; tofu was fried but not overfried and the small pieces mingled readily with the noodles and chicken; egg added just a touch of extra flavor and interest to an already flavorful and interesting dish; peanut added both flavor and texture, scallion added just a touch of bite.
Averaging $6.95 per lunch entree, Bangkok Bistro is a delicious and reasonably-priced option for lunch. For lunch, Bangkok Bistro offers seven different "Crazy Bowls," several curries and multiple pan-fried dishes, along with soups, salads, and appetizers. For an additional $1.50, you can get house soup and salad with your lunch entree.
Dinner is a little steeper - most dishes range from $14.95 to $18.95. Still, good food costs good money, and I would unhesitatingly dine at Bangkok Bistro for dinner. (Just not all the time.)
Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
Excellent, well-resented food. Atmosphere suitable for casual lunches or formal business dinners.
Would I eat there again: Yes.