ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
I’ve found that some restaurants go well beyond being popular, and become so adored by their regulars that one can’t take the comments you hear about it seriously. Singha Thai is such a place. A side effect of this is that a certain number of people go to the restaurant with wildly high expectations triggered by the loyal fans. Any reports you hear that Singha Thai is the best Thai restaurant in America (or the worst), that it’s a terrific bargain or a total ripoff, that portions are enormous or minuscule, or anything else extreme should be ignored. The reality: here is the standard Thai menu, turned out reasonably well, if not brilliantly.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Surrounded by office buildings, Singha Thai serves a steady stream of office workers who want something a little different from the standard lunch menu. As Thai menus go, it’s abbreviated, but they’ll prepare almost anything you ask for. As the CBD has become more and more residential, Singha Thai has been able to return to dinner service, after hits from Katrina and a building collapse.
This is far from the best Thai restaurant in town, but is good enough–and convenient enough for CBD denizens–to be much loved by its many regulars. The kitchen uses fresh ingredients and prepares each dish to order, following your instructions as to spice level.
Singha Thai opened in 2000 in a minuscule space in an old townhouse on Carondelet Street. It expanded into what had been a courtyard and became one of the most popular places to eat among people who worked at One Shell Square and other office buildings in the vicinity. In 2013, a building collapse destroyed the restaurant, which remained closed for over a year before moving a block away to its present Gravier Street location. In the meantime, the owners opened a second restaurant with the great name “Singha Song,” but it has since closed. The restaurant’s name is the same as that of the most popular brand of Thai beer, but there’s no connection.
Singha Thai has never been quite big enough for its customers, and in the new location that remains true. It is roomier than the old place, and better looking, too. The customers are Gen-X and younger, for whom the somewhat spartan surroundings are perceived as desirable. The service staff is usually a bit overloaded. Don’t come here in a hurry except to pick up orders to go.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Thai fresh spring roll
Fried golden brown squid with a three-flavored dip
Boneless chicken wings stuffed with ground chicken
Yum woon sen (bean noodles, shrimp, minced chicken)
Tom yum soup
Tom kha soup
Crawfish over vermicelli
Royal duck with vegetables
Thai curries (musaman, red, yellow, green, pineapple or panang style, with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, vegetable or tofu, in any level of pepper hotness)
Cashew-nut chicken or beef
Ginger sauce chicken or beef
Ginger fish with green curry bamboo shoots, basil
Carondelet shrimp (sauteed, bamboo shoots, baby corn, snow peas, celery, bell peppers, spicy basil sauce, fried eggplant)
Three flavor shrimp
Garlic soft shell crab
Beef steak, colorful vegetables
New Orleans whole butterfly trout
FOR BEST RESULTS
The restaurant is geared up for fast service of a basic menu. If you want something complicated, go at an off hour.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Although it’s perfect for the needs of its clientele, one wishes for a bit more menu range. And perhaps for the place to return to dinner service.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +2
- Value +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +1
- Good for business meetings
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Curbside parking
- No reservations