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Thai Basil (Closed)
253 S. Santa Fe Ave.
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Hours: Closed Sun.
Tea: Jasmine (bags)
Smoking: No Smoking
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Thai Basil, located at Santa Fe and Edmond Road, is one of the newest Thai restaurants on the
OKC scene. Opening in October 2004, it has already become quite popular with customers, and
judging from the time I was there, does a good take-out business.
The restaurant, though, puts me in a bad spot as a reviewer. Serving what I would classify as "Americanized" food, I would normally not be very interested in the restaurant. All dishes (except the curry) are non-spicy by default, although you can ask for them to be spicy. I really hate this philosphy in a Thai restaurant, except that there are easy ways to work around it.
For instance, I employed a method that seemed to be successful with the Tom Yum soup. The chef wanted me to try it plain first, then she brought a bowl of chile paste that could be added to taste (I used almost all of mine). This produced the same results as if the chile had been cooked into the broth in the kitchen, but I think in any authentic Thai restaurant the chile would be added automatically. Once I added the chile paste to the tom yum it was delicious, but more than that, was full of fresh vegetables and tofu to the extent that I almost never see at the more "authentic" Thai restaurants.
Also I am used to seeing condiments placed on the table with the usual red chile sauce and green Thai chiles soaked in fish sauce, but these are not available at Thai Basil.
The dilemma in my review comes from the fact that you cannot walk into Thai Basil, order off the menu, and get correctly prepared "Thai style" food. You can, however, get very good food if you know how to request it, and it helps very much if you have been to some of the more "authentic" restaurants in larger cities. You almost have to insist that you want it "Thai style," otherwise they are very reluctant to serve something to which many people are not accustomed.
Thai Basil does not serve the even more spicy northern Thailand style dishes, and for this and other reasons I think Thai Palace a short distance east on Edmond Road will continue to be a better choice for Thai food. You could do a lot worse, though, than going to Thai Basil.
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