Growing up in a city meant having access to an abundance of restaurants. You want Hungarian? You got it. Ethiopian? Sure thing. A falafel joint? Indian? Pierogis on a grilled cheese sandwich? Duh.
But College Station isn’t exactly burgeoning with culinary options. Until recently, we didn’t have good Indian food. And for me, that was sacrilege. Now that Taz is here, I think about moving away a lot, lot less.
If we didn’t have something, I learned to make it. I wanted paneer, but couldn’t find it, so I made it myself. Then I discovered this gem of a place. I wanted Thai food, so I went to the Asian grocery store and bought Thai basil for pad kra pao or Chinese broccoli for pad see ew. That’s what happens when you move to a place that doesn’t have exactly what you want it to. You adapt.
But then yesterday I got news that made my hungry heart skip a beat. A Thai restaurant, Lanna Thai, had opened in Bryan. Actual Thai. Authentic Thai. This-probably-has-fish-sauce-in-it-but-I-don’t-care Thai.**
I had to try it IMMEDIATELY.
I resisted the urge to leave work as soon as I found it to go gorge myself on spring rolls and tom kha gai soup and curry. Bowls and bowls of curry. Instead, TP and I waited until dinner to try it out.
The verdict: This place did not disappoint.
For our appetizer, we had fried tofu with sweet chili peanut sauce. The tofu was a little different than I had had at other Thai places – a bit softer – but hot and light. The dipping sauce was scrumptious. Patrick started eating the peanuts out of it with his chopsticks.
For our entrees, I had panang curry with tofu. Patrick ordered a dish with a brown sauce and shrimp and veggies (I forget the name of it). We also shared a plate of vegetable fried rice.
Everything was hot and fresh, and the sauces of each of our dishes were delicious and seasoned well. The fried rice was a bit bland by my standards, but filled with vegetables and not too greasy. The presentation of each dish was lovely as well. I liked mine so much that I ate all of it. There was a small amount of sauce left in the bowl, and I asked the server to package it for me so that I could enjoy it over rice later.
There’s a reason a lot of Thai dishes have the word “yum” in them.
My only complaint was the water had a slightly strange taste to it. Patrick thinks they put something in it to make it more fragrant since College Station and Bryan aren’t exactly known for their delicious tap water. My initial thinking was that the glass had residual soap in it, but we ruled that out.
Other than that, Lanna Thai gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me. And so BCS dudes and dudettes, I implore you to go to this place. Try it out. Keep it open. Expand your horizons if you aren’t familiar with Thai food. You’ll like it. And if you don’t, at least you can say that Bryan/College Station just got a little more colorful when it comes to its culinary landscape.