Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mai Thai

2279 South 67th Street (Aksarben Village)
Plus the original location at 14618 West Center Road
Open lunch and dinner daily (no lunch Sunday?), call new location for details
Mai Thai 2 on Urbanspoon

Mango Crab Rangoon ($6.50)

Between the barren gray and orange walls, the shimmering hanging room divider, and the bar that looked like it was erected in under an hour, I felt like I was dining at the cafeteria at Forever 21 headquarters. Throw in one or two Buddha figurines and call it a Thai restaurant. Interestingly, the dining crowd was almost exclusively younger couples -- did all of Omaha's girlfriends drag their boyfriends here after the mall?

When I saw the "Skinny Girl" cocktail menu on the table, I was all too sure I was in the mass-produced, low-quality restaurant version of the disposable clothing store. I refused to succumb to the marketing scheme aimed at my demographic and instead sipped my ice water and watched the manager hover over the tables while the servers tag teamed. Six weeks after opening this location, they seemed pretty hell bent to make sure the food came out on time.

Mango Crab Rangoon Innards

Once the mango crab rangoon appetizer arrived a whole three minutes later, I was taken aback to find that they were actually quite worthy. The mango wasn't terribly present, but I suppose it's better to under- than over-power. They were expertly fried -- it's more challenging to man a deep fryer than you might think -- well-assembled little cream cheesy delights. The Pad Thai was slightly sweet and again, not overwhelming on the peanut taste. Ask for a "5" on the spiciness scale of 1-5, since the "4" was child's play.

Chicken Pad Thai ($13)

Mai Thai serves solid comfort food in a squeaky clean environment, but if the restaurant stays as full as it was at dinner the other day, at least the other guests will give it some character. I mused that I would come here on one of those "bottomless pit" days, perhaps after a large theater popcorn across the street, and gorge on a whole appetizer and never ending entree to myself. I wouldn't be caught drunk with a Skinny Girl cocktail, though.

The Forever 21 of Thai restaurants?

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