QUICK TAKE: Thai Basil Leaf, Arlington
by Andrew Chalk
Be aware that this unpretentious, drap little strip mall Thai restaurant impresses with (most) of its food. Delicious Tom Kha soup ($5.95 for a generous cup. $11.95 for a bowl) had a tenaciously glutinous broth that put many other establishments to shame. The carrot slices could have been parboiled before their late addition to soften them. An appetizer of crab cream cheese rolls ($5.95 for 4) was ethereally creamy inside a crisp fried cigar-shaped shell. This was the single most perfect dish at our meal and would fit into menus much different from Thai. For example, as an hors d'oeuvre at a standing reception.
My main course choice of Massaman Curry ($10.95 + $1 brown rice) may not have been imaginative but the chicken was soft and tasty and the serious sauce thick enough to coat the bites of meat or hang on the clumps of brown rice. By the way, brown rice is a $1 upcharge and were I ordering again I would stay with the (included) jasmine rice.
The moll’s Pad Woon Sen ($10.95) showed deliciously soft vermicelli noodles and precisely cooked chicken pieces. One down side: The vegetables (those same sliced carrots, plus broccoli) were undercooked again. This problem seems widespread and one wonders if it could not be simply solved by a timed zap in the microwave for each portion of vegetables prior to cooking.
I did not check but BYOB is likely possible as they serve no alcohol.
Service was accessible and charming throughout thanks to our waitress, who appeared to be held together with tattoos.
This is a 'quick take' because the experience is based on only one (lunchtime) visit. I would not hesitate to return and would recommend Thai Basil Leaf to Arlington/Grand Prairie diners.
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