Monday, July 14, 2014

Thai Kitchen & Bar : Estes Park

For those of you, who have not had the chance to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is the small town that most tourists pass through to enter the national park.  Needless to say, Estes Park is largely sustained on the tourism industry and generally speaking, that generally translates to restaurants not having too much incentive to go above and beyond putting out the bare minimum.

As if to prove the point, the last time we ate in Estes Park, we had a truly, truly awful dining experience at another Asian restaurant.  Sorry, I have no writeup for that, but we will certainly never be returning.

I mention the above to explain that we generally avoid eating in Estes Park.  However, we had just done a longer hike and my S/O was hangry and threatened to beat me with my own leg and deprive me of delicious chocolate chip cookies.

So we pulled in the parking lot of Thai Kitchen with low expectations.

It's always nice to be proven wrong.

Kratiem (w/ tofu) - Slice sautéed chicken / pork or tofu with garlic, black pepper, broccoli, snow peas, and carrots - Freshly fried battered tofu with a light crispness to the exterior.  The rest of the vegetables were nicely pan fried, and everything was covered with a light thickened sauce, tasting primarily of fried garlic.  Relatively straightforward, but nicely and refreshingly done.

Vegetable Korma - Fresh mixed vegetable gently cooked in cream sauce and sprinkled with nuts and raisins - Cauliflower, potato, almond slivers, raisins.  The korma had a nice, creamy coconut milk flavor with a few other spices thrown in.  Also nicely done and not too heavy either.

Pistachio Kulfi Ice Cream (Indian Style) - Home made ice-cream made to an authentic recipe. - To top off the nicely done entrees, this was the pièce de résistance.  Plenty of pistachio chunks, so a strong pistachio flavor.  The taste initially tastes as if it will be too sweet, but then the sweetness tapers off and disappears.  The texture is much firmer than that of traditional ice cream or gelato, such that you have to dig in with your spoon to get a bite and hold on with your finger so the whole thing doesn't go flying.  But certainly a nice ending to a satisfying meal.

I'll also note that the service was friendly.  I believe we were served by one of the owners of the place and she was friendly and enthusiastic.

If we find other restaurants like this, I may have to rethink my generalization that tourist towns are devoid of decent restaurants.

Thai Kitchen & Bar
401 S St Vrain Ave Estes Park, CO 80517 (Map)
(970) 577-7112

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