Bai Khao Thai Cuisine
541 W. Centennial Blvd
Springfield, OR
(541) 736-8424

http://www.baikhao.com/

See this location on a map

Eugenified.com rating: 1 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 5

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Checked out this new Thai place in Springfield the other day with not very high expectations. Turns out this place has been open for six years, and I was wrong about the food as well.

Run by a husband and wife team (plus their really cute 5-year-old-ish daughter helps out too), Bai Khao should have been yet another Springfield-based “Thai” restaurant for me to poop on. Alas, poor Yorick, there will be no pooping today, as Bai Khao’s Thai food requires no quote marks. At least most of the food…but we’ll get to that later.

Decor: Take a look at the interior picture on the first page of their website (see link above). That’s not at all what this restaurant looks in real life. Or perhaps, that is what it would look like if you saw everything through the eyes of a Playboy centerfold photographer. In reality, the place is a bit disappointing. Nothing quite seems to match, and there is no real theme to speak of. They had some interesting ideas for the kitchen area, using cool-looking corrugated metal, but did not carry it through the rest of the space. No, I don’t expect them to use metal for the entire place, but at least they could have carried the “feeling” further (maybe with browns and grays, or polished concrete floors, or something).

Service: Our waiter was one of the owners (the husband), so you can’t get much better than that.

Food: Two hits and a miss. First the miss.

Miss: The Pad Thai was very bland. The color was the first indicator, being more light yellow than paprika orange-ish. The taste was correspondingly light as well. Definitely not enough paprika and maybe tamarind for my taste. I can’t say this is not authentic Pad Thai, since I have eaten very similar Pad Thai at small street-side restaurants in Thailand. But I still would prefer a more flavorful affair. Could minus some of the oil as well.

Hit: Red Curry with Chicken was excellent. Our first experience in all of Eugene/Springfield where this dish tastes like it was prepared with a properly seasoned pot…it had that perfect sorta charcoal-ly wok-y high-heat taste. As some reviewers online have complained, there was not a large amount of meat in the dish, but for me that is not a big issue. It’s the sauce and the flavor that determines the success of red curry, and Bai Khao’s was certainly determined to be very good. In fact, the best in the Eugene/Springfield area.

Hit: Pad Kee Mao noodles were also excellent. Again, the perfect balance of spice and cooking method/temperature. Another “Best in Eugene/Springfield” award for this one.

Spice of Life: Yes, they actually do make your food spicy at Bai Khao when you ask for it to be spicy. Go figure?! How do you think such an amazing feat could be possible? (Yes, I am glaring at you, Aiyara Thai Cafe).

Pet Peeve Complaint: Mouth burning. Head about to explode. Need more soda. No free refills?!

Summary: Substance over style at Bai Khao.

Update 1: Seems they heard my complaint about the decor and decided to do some renovating. Sign on the front door says they will reopen Nov 1, 2010.

Update 2: The renovation is complete and the place looks somewhat nicer inside. Not a whole lot, but better.

Food is still mostly delicious, but the basil beef dish used the worst quality beef ever served. It was literally too hard to be used as shoe sole leather. It would hurt your feet if you walked on it.

Also, the owner/husband was in a cranky mood last time we ate there, and he barely spoke five words to us the entire time. Same silent treatment for the tables nearby us as well. Oh well, we all have days like that. Lucky for most of us that we don’t get star-rated on the internet.

Eugenified.com rating: 1 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 5

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