After much cajoling, prodding and suggesting, I went to Bangkok House. I don't know why I don't listen to y'all more often. You're almost always right.
Bangkok is a Thai restaurant on Cherry, near the Joint Reserve Base and its run by a family - the entire family. The lunch crowd seems to fill up with reserve base folks and people that work in the oddly placed towers on the West Freeway. It should be filled with everybody in town because not only is the food great, but the family members are fantastic hosts. If they sat with you, you'd feel like you were at their house.
On weekdays at lunch, Bangkok House has a lunch buffet and specials. The specials include a trip to the buffet for salad, egg rolls and dessert. The buffet has a number of staples but a few changes are made each day. From my limited knowledge of everything, the buffet appeared to be a mix of Thai favorites, a few American-Chinese sounding dishes (beef & broccoli), and some really unusual items. The most unusual item was something called "brown egg" which doesn't come from the chicken's tail end. Instead, it is stewed/marinated/cooked/something in a brown broth. It was probably good but I didn't get the buffet.
I got the pad thai. I ordered it Dyanmo-Super-PaintPeeling-Thai-Spicy. Which is like 3 out of 5 on their spicy ranking chart. It was awesome. Their pad thai seems more traditional than many places and very simple. Yet very delicious. It reminded me of the pad thai I had at Sikhay which has always been my idea of a very traditional pad thai. It consisted of chicken, noodles, sauce, some peanuts and very little else. But it was enough to make me want to make you want to go eat it. My waitress said that her grandma made the pad thai special for me since it was my first time. I don't know what to think about that - but I'd always tell them its your first time.
I never found the purported salad bar that came with the lunch special, but I did manage to find the eggrolls (good), rice (good) and some black rice on the dessert bar (awesome). But there is an additional benefit to being a micro-celebrity. They let me try anything on the buffet to see if I like it. So I had the massaman curry. Based on my sample of a small bowl with a little rice and some massaman curry on top, I can wholeheartedly endorse this dish. The stamp of approval would have more bearing if I posted more than once every Superbowl, but you can still rely on that. Also, I think everybody gets to try stuff on the buffet, but don't hold me to that.
Beyond the food though, you need to go for the atmosphere and the friendly nature of the people. Places like this are why I started this blog and why I generally eat at these places. The young waitress was the daughter who appeared very proud of the restaurant and its well worn reputation. Her mother was similarly proud and went on and on about each dish and how they make it. The place isn't stuffy and its not awkward to have a conversation - whether loud or soft - because the family is always having a good time talking. And the food is great.
If you go, take cash and you get a 10% discount. If you don't take cash - you're a sucker.
Bangkok Thai House is at 438 S. Cherry Lane.
Let me know what you think.