WEEK 9 — THE THAI KITCHEN
After a week in which our Munchers snacked on the burgers of the giant fast food chains, they decided to go back to their roots and hit the streets of Provo in search of some good grub. Instead of going for the usual burger and fries on a Saturday night, the Munchmobile crew of Jake Welch, Ben Wagner and Steve Pierce desired some flavor from the Far East, leading them to The Thai Kitchen.
The Thai Kitchen, located on the corner of 300 South and 300 West in Provo, is a locally owned and operated business that doesn’t have a lot of pizazz. The place was recommended to a few of our Munchers on the fact that it was fairly decent Thai food for a reasonable price. For a long while, our Munchers really only had these two things on their radar. If a place offered quality food that wasn’t going break out bank, then it was a winner.
This was the situation until their experience at The Thai Kitchen, where the element of service was called to their attention. In the restaurant business, the service can be the deal breaker. An honest and timely serving staff can give the costumer that extra motivation to return, while a lackadaisical or difficult one can scare off the costumer, no matter how good the food may be.
In the case of The Thai Kitchen, our munchers didn’t have good things to say about the service. Maybe it had to do with the food being served almost an hour after they ordered. It might have been longer if they didn’t speak up and mention how long they had been waiting. It turns out there was only one chef working in the kitchen on that particular Saturday evening. This might be normal protocol for a Tuesday afternoon, but should never be the case on a Saturday night.
There were other things that took place during the Munchmobile’s stop at The Thai Kitchen, but we’ll let the crew speak for themselves as they discuss and rate their meals.
Jake Welch — Pad Thai
I am not super familiar with Thai food with the exception of the dish Pad Thai. I usually go with this selection because it is usually a safe bet for a good meal. In the case of The Thai Kitchen, the Pad Thai was too safe. I can understand that sometimes certain restaurants want to cater to the community by “Americanizing” their foods, but the lack of flavor in their Pad Thai is truly a disservice.
I thought the noodles and chicken were well prepared, but there wasn’t much else to it. I found it sad that this “authentic” restaurant was not able to compete with a Thai chain out in California called Thai Spice that offered very flavorful food at about half the price. I would even go so far as to say that my dad’s homemade Pad Thai was on par with this stuff. Just for the record my dad has never set foot in Asia and was raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Sure, Costco might have helped with the meal, but still, I expected more from The Thai Kitchen. 2 out of 5 elephants
Ben Wagner — Chop Chop (sort of)
I too am not overly familiar with Thai food, but I have had mostly positive experiences every time I have partaken. That was not the case at The Thai Kitchen. I was in the mood for something with noddles so I ordered a dish whose name escapes me at the moment. Up till this point, I was not as wholly dissatisfied with the service at The Thai Kitchen as some of my fellow munchers: the waitresses were friendly (perhaps overly so, but that’s another story) and courteous. The food did take quite awhile to arrive and would have taken longer if Mr. Welch hadn’t spoken up, but I was enjoying myself.
The waitress brought out a dish announcing it as being the “chop chop”, which was the dish ordered by Rhombus’ illustrious editor Steve Pierce. He, of course, took the food and began to eat it. A few minutes later, another waitress arrived with a dish that was also announced as being the “chop chop.” Of course, this was the real chop chop and the first dish was actually mine. Unfortunately, it was long gone and, as we had already been there an hour, I wasn’t about to send it back; therefore, I ended up eating what I had not oredered. This is a deal breaker for me — the fact that I had to pay for something I did not order pushed my level of customer dissatisfaction over the top. The chop chop, in and of itself, was somewhat bland and not anything to write home about, but it wasn’t what I ordered so the experinece was ruined for me. Safe to say I won’t be returning to the Thai Kitchen anytime soon. 1 out of 5 Buddha statues.
Steve Pierce — Whatever Noodle-laden Dish Ben Ordered
I am a patient man. Really, I’m not one to get all uppity over small things. I generally take things as they come. However, I cannot condone waiting an hour for one’s food at some makeshift Thai restaurant, then having the orders be wrong and having it all taste like you’re eating moistened strips of cardboard.
Perhaps this is the influence of my wife (who works at a restaurant and is extremely conscious of these things), but poor customer service is inexcusable at an eating establishment — especially when it is as awful as our experience at The Thai Kitchen.
To be honest, I can’t even remember any specifics about what I ate that night. I suppose it was probably fine, but it certainly wasn’t anything memorable. But even it was, it wouldn’t matter. I could have eaten the world’s juiciest steak drizzled in edible gold and I would have still left profoundly disappointed. Memo to the staff at The Thai Kitchen: Service is king. Zero out of 5 solo Thai chefs.
In conclusion, if you ever consider opening up a restaurant, just remember that it doesn’t matter if you have the best food in the world; You will ultimately fail miserably if you don’t have an adequate service staff. Hopefully the owners of The Thai Kitchen can learn that in the future. 1 out of 5 misplaced orders.
For suggestions on where you’d like to see the Munchmobile head next week, leave a comment below, send an e-mail to email@example.com or send a message on Twitter to @rhombusmag.
Ben Wagner, Jake Welch and Steve Pierce are correspondents for Rhombus. Follow them on Twitter @ben_wagner, @jraywelch and @steve_pierce, respectively.