With the proliferation of websites that bring restaurant reviews into the sphere of social networking (Yelp! Chowhound! Urban Spoon! Amuse-Bouche! food blogs everywhere!), bougies and trolls alike are mere keystrokes away becoming the next great food critic. Unadulterated praise is boring, and we at Blog will be the first to say that it’s fun to be snarky when snark is due. So a restaurant named Pakarang Exquisite Thai seems almost to be a challenge, a dare with two possible outcomes: either a truly exquisite meal or the easiest prey imaginable. (Full disclosure: it’s very easy prey.) Investigation was due.
From its post down on South Main, Pakarang attracts lots of people in suits. It’s got a similarly corporate-looking dining room: sprawling, with nondescript furniture, a vast unmanned bar, and strange aquarium-like wall decorations. In these ways, it’s the polar opposite of Sawaddee, the Thai place on the other side of College Hill, whose dining room is roughly the size of an Escalade. What they have in common is that they both fill up at lunchtime — all that space serves Pakarang well. Service is conducive to business lunches: attentive and quick but not all that personable, the waitstaff make it easy to chow down, go over the latest numbers, and GTFO (to your cubicle… or your 1:00 class). [Read more →]