04 Mar 2008 @ 1:49 AM 

I have been doing Thai food now for about 4 years.  I have been to most every Thai place in Omaha or at least I think I have.  Well last night, I was driving through a parking lot at 144th and Center streets and spotted “Mai Thai”.  It’s not my normal Thai food haunt, but since “Taste of Thailand” is closed on Sundays, I figured I would give it a spin.  I was in the place back when it was “Chop Stix”.  Then it was cute and quaint, and I think my wife worked with a relative of the owners, so we went there to support their business.  That being said, I don’t know who owns it now.

We walked in and immediately you notice the dining room is small.  The tables are small… this is a tiny place.  We get seated and our waiter came over and took our drink orders and gave us water.  We ordered spring rolls and eggrolls.  After the appetizer order was placed, he came back with our drinks (soda in a can with glasses of ice) and then took our order: Garlic Noodles at a 1, Chicken Pad Thai at a 1, and a Beef Panang curry as hot as you can make it. They had a 1 – 5 star heat scale, I asked for a 7 or 8.  Nobody ever seems to take me seriously when I tell them to burn me and make me cry.  One reason I got from a waitress one time is that if it’s too hot, I will send it back and they will have to waste that food to make me something less spicy.  Most Midwesterners say they can “handle” the heat, but when it comes down to it, they’re pansies.  If you are going to say you can handle the heat, then “hang with the big dogs” and don’t sent it back because you’re a wimp.

Well, enough of my tangent rant on spicy food!  As we sat there, the warm air of the heater blew down on us as the slush fell from the sky.  Our waiter brought out our appetizers and we dug in.  The spring rolls were nice and fat.  Two large rolls, cut in half creating 4 pieces with a chili/peanut infused sauce.  The texture of the spring roll married together well with the zing of the sauce.  It was real good.  Then the egg-roll:  Delicate and small, 4 to an order.  They came with a sweet and sour chili sauce.  Everything was very fresh. 

Soon after we finished our appetizers, our main order came out.  My Panang Curry was very good.  It was a sweet curry with strips of cafir leaf, beef, and red and green bell peppers.  The presentation was an effective attempt at making the food look elegant.  I have 2 things about the dish I didn’t like.  It wasn’t hot enough.  I specifically asked for it to make me cry.  It was warm and had great flavor however.  The other thing I din’t like about it was that the cafir leaf strips.  They should have left the leaf whole.  The texture of the leaf was too hard for the rest of the dish.  If it was left whole, I could have avoided it.  I use cafir leaf myself in my cooking.  It’s easy enough to do. 

I am happy to say that I actually loved my daughter’s Pad Thai, as mild as it was more than my curry.  The flavor was incredible.  It wasn’t drenched in ketchup, but relied on other flavors to carry the dish.  The presentation was pleasing, but wasn’t over-crowded with colors. 

We didn’t do dessert… I was to full from finishing off my plate and my daughter’s as well.  This is a place I would recommend to anyone wanting Thai food and I will definitely make this a regular stop.

Pluses: Great food, intimate atmosphere, fantastic service.

Minuses: Man, when I say hot, hurt me! Canned soda.

Overall impression:  I think that the place had a great feel.  It was small and there was tons of to-go business.  I liked it.  I think they can improve a little, but for what they are trying to accomplish, I think they are doing well.  I think this place is a keeper.

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 04 Mar 2008 @ 01:49 AM

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 21 Aug 2007 @ 5:14 PM 

BoBo China (156 and Q Street)

It’s time to redeem myself in the area of Chinese cuisine. I have a place I like to hang out in believe it or not and it’s called BoBo China. I have been going there for about a year and a half. I spotted it while going into Bag and Save one day and always said that I wanted to go in there… It only took me a year and a half to do so. (Bad choice on my part).

When you walk in, you notice the poster board specials taped to the wall, and a white board listing other specials after entering the second door. The place is a pinkish beige color, and it’s rather unpretentious and simple. There are many small tables and one large table for larger families and groups. The menus are sparse and the server will go nab them off another table for you.

The waiter, and I don’t know his name, is a tall oriental man, very thin and lanky. I think he either owns the place or is related to who is. The first few times I went there, I wasn’t too sure about him. Very quiet and reserved. As I continued to frequent the place, is personality began to show. He’s funny. I like him a lot. Once you spend some time there, you will see it too.

ON TO THE FOOD!!!!

Ok, again, I live for eating…. Yes, I know, I should eat to live. Get over it. If I didn’t feel that way, this site would be boring!

Anyway… I have to say that this is one of the top 5 Chinese places in Omaha. The menu is inexpensive, you get a boatload of food, and the flavor in each action packed bite of my Kung Pao chicken is awesome. I can honestly say, that whoever is in back cooking should get a medal. The fried rice is fantastic, and the orange beef is really crispy and tasty. This last time we went there, someone ordered the peanut butter chicken. Oh man… that was tasty. One of my favorite things on the menu is their Egg Rolls. I don’t know if they make them there or what, but they have got the best flavor. The texture of the filling is real good, kind of becoming one piece of meat, instead of over-flowing with veggies that nobody likes.

The garbage to meat ratio (Veggies to meat) is rather low. There are tons of shrimp in my Kung Pao shrimp, and most of the other dishes that I have had are not overloaded with vegetation. They really focus on the flavor of what they are making instead of the profit from it. It’s fantastic. I am really impressed with the consistency and quality of every dish that comes out. The service is real good and they do a good job keeping everything moving.

Overall impression: It’s a little Chinese food hole in the wall that has really good food and good service. I give this place a solid rating! A “Must Have!”

Plusses: Great food, great prices, large portions. Good service and good location if you live in Southwest Omaha.

Minuses: Need menus for each table and sometimes the food doesn’t come out all at once. (Its not too bad, like a minute or two.) I think they need to get boards for their specials and perhaps a professional looking menu for behind the counter that doesn’t involve poster board and a sharpie marker.

I love this place…

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2007 @ 03:34 AM

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