Monday, January 5, 2015

Cornering the Market on Thai Food?

Thai Corner
22371 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630

All of a sudden we have been in a Thai mood lately. Maybe it's the colder weather, or maybe we just have really enjoyed it, but Katie and I found ourselves craving Thai food on a recent Friday night. Not wanting to frequent the same old place we have hit up three times in the last two weeks, we ventured onto Yelp to find another highly rated spot around us. Up popped Thai Corner, with its 250 plus reviews and a four star rating, so we headed out to see if Thai Corner could quench our Thai cravings.

Thai Corner is located at the far end of the Stater Bros. shopping center, at the corner of Trabuco and El Toro in Lake Forest. There's some sort of face lift going on in this center, but from what we could tell, all the construction was limited to the facade of the building.

This is not a huge restaurant, maybe twelve or so tables. When we arrived at about 6pm, there were about seven of those tables occupied, and only one lady serving everyone. We learned near the end of our visit that she's the owner, and her son also has another Thai Corner in Chino Hills. At our very conservative count, she must have said the word sorry about 150 times. She was sorry that she was short staffed, she was sorry the food took longer than usual, and she was sorry when it took a short time for a refill on drinks. We weren't really in a hurry or anything, so we did not really even notice it taking a long time, except for all the sorry's being thrown around. We were just hoping that the food wouldn't be sorry, so let's see how it all turned out for us on this night.

I've been trying to find an OC equivalent to the great Thai soup I had at Lotus of Siam in Vegas, so it was a natural that I would try their version of Tom Kah Gai ($9.95). This coconut based soup came with sliced chicken, mushrooms, cilantro, and galanga root, which is kind of like ginger. I had wished this was a little spicier. The chicken was tender, but not nearly enough of it for the serving size here, which was generous. The broth to chicken ratio was way off, thus we had lots of bites without any chicken. The base of the soup was flavorful, with the smooth coconut bursting though.

Katie selected these Deep Fried Wontons ($6.95) as an appetizer. These were filled with chicken, potato, and carrot. A pretty basic won ton. The filling did not really speak to me here. It was rather bland, but livened up a bit when I used the sweet sauce that came with this. Not greasy at all, I left most of these for Katie.

I almost always stick to the curries when I'm at a Thai spot, and this held true to form here. I opted for the Panang ($9.95). This actually was pretty tasty. The curry portion was right on point. A mild heat provided by the red chili curry, which was instantly cooled down by the smooth coconut milk. I like the contrasts of Thai curries. You also have your choice of meat, and I went with the pork, which was just okay. Some of the bigger pieces were a little on the dry side, so I'd opt for a different protein on my next visit to Thai Corner.

If Katie ever ordered anything  but Chicken Pad Thai ($9.95) in a Thai restaurant, I'd probably go into shock. This popular dish is made up of stir fried Thai rice noodles, with chicken tofu, and egg, then garnished with crushed peanuts and bean sprouts. Katie liked this well enough, but would probably get another item on her next visit here. She claims that it had a red chili sauce, which in her opinion did not belong in a pad Thai. The bite I had was good, just not great.

Thai Corner definitely quenched our Thai cravings on this night. Is this destination dining? Not at all, but if you are in the area, and want to have some inexpensive Thai food, this might be the place for you. Even though the lady said sorry about a hundred times on this night, we did not experience any awful service. The food came out in a timely manner, and our drinks were refilled with regularity. I thought the prices were more than fair for a sit down restaurant. Lucky we now have an alternative spot for our Thai cravings near our house.

Out of five babies, (because no one puts baby in a corner, a Dirty Dancing reference,) five being best to zero being worst, Thai Corner gets 2.5 babies.

For more information about Thai Corner, go to their website here:

Thai Corner on Urbanspoon


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