Friday, July 17, 2009

Thai 2 Go

Word on the street was that the new, fast casual restaurant, Thai 2 Go (aka "T2G"), is offering a vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu. Was this tip for real or was it 2G2BT? Eddie G. and I decided to investigate.

Although we opted for delivery, T2G has recently completed its new storefront in the medical district. The restaurant appears pristene on the inside which is always an important consideration for strict vegetarians who are skittish about cross contamination issues. There is also a nice sized dining room for those who wish to dine on premise.

We spoke with Siam, owner of T2G beforehand to go over the menu and determine if there were any vegan options available. There were indeed several on-menu options available that were vegan without any modifications such as the E8 mixed vegetable. And, most important for the vegans and vegetarians out there, T2G offers a soy duck or chicken option for $2 extra. However, much to my dismay, a majority of the on-menu entree choices contained some sort of hidden fish sauce or meat product in them. For example, the premade curries all contained fish sauce.

We ended up going with the A2 Salad Roll and the S2 Papaya Salad (Som Tum) for starters. While there was nothing wrong with the salad rolls, they weren't our fave. They were wrapped individually, and we found them a bit dry, perhaps due to the fact we couldn't dip them in the non-vegan peanut sauce. The papaya salad, by contrast, was swimming in vegan sauce, and it was exceptional. Make sure to order this one without fish sauce or shrimp. Green papaya is not the mushy pink stuff that most think of when they think papaya. Green papaya is crispy and to the dry side. It was not premarinated in fish sauce or dry shrimp, which are two of the usual plot spoilers for vegans and this salad. Instead it was chock-filled with julienne green papaya, carrots, roasted peppers, bean sprouts, chili flakes, and topped with some chopped roasted peanuts. Easy and light, it was in our opinion a perfect summer salad.

S2 Papaya Salad (Som Tum) (above).

On to the mains, Siam set us up with veganized versions of the N1 Pad Thai Tofu, E7 Basil Stir Fried Chicken, and E9 Ginger Stir Fried Duck. Each arrived warm in nicely packaged in spillproof plastic containers. Portion sizes were moderate, not too large, not too small. Pad Thai was pretty basic, ordered without egg. It was mostly noodles and tofu, light on sprouts and scallions. The Basil Chicken and Ginger Duck were both loaded with flavor, if not a bit watery. The veggie mix was similar for both dishes with the addition of mushroom and celery for the duck. Strangely, each of these dishes on the regular menu would have contained some type of meat or seafood item in the standard house sauce. We found this whole situation a bit confusing since since T2G provides a wonderful vegan soy meat option, but very few on-menu vegan dishes to pair with the faux meat.

E9 Ginger Stir Fry with Soy Duck (above).

For dessert, Siam reccomended the Mango and Sticky Rice, which was a variation of the W1 Custard and Sticky Rice. I'm a fan of the sticky rice, and this dish is always a crowd pleaser. Sweet, slightly salty, sticky rice is topped with creamy coconut milk and, here it was served with fresh mango. But, then again, you can pretty much feed me anything with coconut cream and I'll probably like it!

Mango with Sticky Rice (above).

All in all, T2G is not "too good to be true," but it is a decent, vegetarian and vegan-friendly option for a meal on the fly, or delivered right to your doorstep.


Since this post, we received a message from Siam who has AMAZINGLY offered to change some of his recipes and accomodate his vegetarian and vegan customers. He writes:

"We have changed some of our recipes after you left to accomdate vegans. Our peanut sauce is now made without fish sauce. We also have a couple of dishes that are now available without any special orders. The following are normally made without fish sauce: salad rolls, peanut curry, praram long song, mango and sticky rice, cantelope pearl pudding. The others can be made without fish sauce upon request. Thank you for writing about us and please let everyone know of our recent changes.



Eddie G said...

Nice, Drew!

oriana said...

Great review! Very clear on descriptions. As I was reading the part of the dry rolls, I thought of this:
soysauce and a squeeze of lime (and if you can, maybe even a sprinkle of sugar in the raw), mix it up and it would be a delicious dipping sauce! I know, I know, it's no peanut sauce, but it would add flavour and keep it from being too dry.

shoes of course said...

Wow, as an omnivore, you make me understand those little vegan details that we forget about: there could be fish sauce in something like a peanut sauce, which in turn could turn a tasty little starter into something rather bland and dry. Thank you for the review!

Drew said...

Thanks ori :) Good idea...and in all fairness to T2G, they did include some type of soy-based sauce with the rolls, but I wasn't really diggin' it as much as the peanut sauce or your idea :) Maybe a sweet chili sauce would have worked, too.

Eddie G said...

Thanks, Siam -- you rock!!

Jen said...

great review, and it pays to keep boundaries and ask questions with restaurant owners. way to go siam for making more options for vegans!

Jamey said...

great story Drew. That place is probably a bit off my preferred driving radar, but it's nice to know it's there. Mango sticky-rice looked awesome. Once again, welcome!

miss v said...

yum - i love thai. nice work on getting them to change the menu without really trying. a vegan superhero!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

I would eat there solely because the owner cares about the customers. That is so amazing that the menu was changed because of this review!