#75: Ruen Thai Restaurant

Last Sunday I stopped by Ruen Thai Restaurant to to get lunch for take out.  It is located just to the right of Crush 29 at Eureka and Rocky Ridge.  For a long time this has been my default Thai restaurant simply because I hadn’t been anywhere else.  It’s where I was introduced to my favorite dish, Pad Siew (or Pad See Ew or other spellings, depending on where you go) by one of the waitresses.  I’ve always had pretty good service here.  On occasion I’ve experienced some much slower service when they get a little busy, which I would guess is due to the smallish staff.  I’ve never seen more than 2 servers at a given time.

The Dining room is quite nice and well decorated.  It kind of feels like you’ve stepped into a different world once the door closes behind you.  On the one hand I like it a lot because of this, but I can’t help be feel a little closed in here even though it’s fairly large room.  There are windows and during the day it’s more apparent, but at night you might as well be in a windowless box.  It might be something you have to walk in and experience for yourself.

I put in my order, paid and sat down by one of the windows up front.  There was just one family there at about noon.  I ordered a Thai iced tea to sip on while I waited for the order which only took about 10 minutes, maybe a little longer.  Today I ordered a couple of my favorites and a salad.  Here are some items that I’ve ordered in the past so you can see how they are served when you dine in:

Ruen Thai Rolls
(Rice paper wrapped fresh rolls with tofu, noodles, shredded carrots, cucumbers, green leaves and cilantro served with tamarind peanut sauce topped with roasted crushed peanuts)
Green Curry with Pork
(Sliced meat in green curry paste with homemade coconut milk, bamboo shoots, eggplants, bell peppers and fresh basil leaves)
Goon Peaw Wan
(Stir-fried crispy prawns with pineapple, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and green onions)
Goong Tod
(Golden fried prawns served with sweet & sour sauce)

My parents know that I often eat out on Sunday and requested that I bring lunch over if I was today, hence the take out.  The salad was requested by my mother, who really enjoyed the Thai salad that we ordered on my first visit to Khun Suda Thai.  The Ruen Thai Salad looked like basically the same thing (Romaine lettuce topped with crispy tofu, bean sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers and topped with peanut sauce).  We mixed it up in a larger bowl with the dressing to serve it.  I feel like it was about the same as the one we had previously at Khun Suda, but I actually think that mixing the dressing in made a bigger difference that I expected.  I would prefer to pour it on top and get fewer but more concentrated bites of the flavorful peanut sauce.

The two other items I ordered were pad siew with pork and the roasted duck curry.  The pad siew (Stir-fried thick rice noodles with sliced meat, eggs, broccoli and bean sprouts) was as amazing as it always is here. The noodles are done perfectly and nearly melt in your mouth.  I’m on the fence as to whether I prefer chicken or pork.  I can’t recommend this dish more at Ruen Thai, they nail it every time.

The roasted duck curry (Boneless roasted duck in red curry paste with homemade coconut milk, pineapple, eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers and fresh basil leaves) was piping hot as I tried to serve some up out of the plastic container they put it in.  It was a bit difficult since the sides were so hot I had to hold it dangerously by the rim.  One wrong move and would have had delicious, steaming hot red curry all over the place.  Along with the pad siew, this is one of my absolute favorite dishes.  Not all Thai places have duck on the menu and I tend to order it whenever I see some.  It works really well in their red curry.  I’ve had beef, pork and chicken in the red curry as well and they’re all excellent on top of some steamed rice.

You can have your dishes made with a choice of spiciness on a scale of 1-5.  Sometimes they don’t ask, like today, and when that happens I think they just default to 1 because nothing was spicy at all and my mom wouldn’t have been very happy if it was.  I’ve had levels 2-4 and I would say that 3 is my favorite.  I only had level four once and while it was an amazing meal to sweat through I’d really have to be in the mood to do it again 😉

Overall they’re still one of my favorite Thai restaurants.  Khun Suda might edge it out slightly just due to the more open feel of their dining room but I think the food is about on the same level.



5 thoughts on “#75: Ruen Thai Restaurant

  1. Sean, great review. However, I was wondering about the Cilantro in the Thai Rolls–is it ok? Thought we were both on the same page when it came to Cilantro………haha

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