Saturday, October 20, 2018

Quick Bite: Chaba Thai Kitchen

Green curry chicken at Chaba Thai Kitchen
Well, I'm doing it. I'm reviewing a Thai place post-Kin Khao. Chaba Thai Kitchen is a hole-in-the-wall spot in Kearny Mesa that I chose for after-work lunch mostly based on decent reviews and an $8 lunch special.

Service was prompt but not exactly cordial: The server greeted me, pointed to a seat, and handed me a menu all while on the phone with a customer. Not a great first impression.

I was immediately given a small bowl of a broth-based tofu and veggie soup that was surprisingly good. It was warm and fragrant, garlicky and spicy with a strong cilantro flavor. I'd choose it over chicken soup if I was feeling under the weather, no question.

My green Thai curry chicken combo came with a heap of white rice, a curry puff and a cream cheese wonton. These latter two were lukewarm and looked kinda sad, as they seemed understuffed and the puff was slightly stale. The flavors were decent and they probably would've been pretty tasty if they were fresh from the fryer. The flavors on the curry were pretty spot-on: lemongrassy, slightly sweet and moderately spicy, exactly what one would expect. The consistency of the curry was more brothy than creamy, though, and the bamboo shoots were a bit sinewy. In short, everything tasted right, but the textures left a lot to be desired.

Maybe it's just me—maybe my love of Thai has been broken forever—but this was really just okay. It's a pretty good value, but I can't help but think there other Thai places in San Diego that'll really nail the combination of a great meal at a low price.

Score: 5.5 out of 10 (Fair)

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