Patu’s Thai Buffet

27May10

OK, two restaurant posts and two Thai places, but I swear there’s more to Houston than these. I think I’m on a Thai fix right now. I also went to La Madeline that day, and I don’t think that would warrant a write-up. 
Besides, this place is radically different from Thai Nazi. One of the best parts of Thai food is the spread, the glorious variety of flavors you get to try if you go with people willing to share and eat family style. If you go alone, or with people unwilling to share (or if you’re unwilling to share!) or if you order poorly (that would be me), you may have a bad outlook on Thai cuisine. This is where the Thai buffet comes in. Normally, I would blanche at a buffet, usually representative of ridiculous excess and emphasizing quantity over quality, but if done right, a buffet can offer variety and the opportunity to try anything without much risk.

The best Thai buffet I have encountered is Patu’s in Rice village. For $8.95 lunchtime entrance fee, you get a full spread of wonderful variance. There is Pad Thai, a mainstay, here judiciously eggy with meaty tofu. Fried rice is rich with vegetables and generous with egg and flavor. Satay chicken sits at the end, for the less adventurous, but it is delicious nonetheless, as long as you don’t forget the sauces right behind you.  I hear most everything else is varies day to day, but what stood out that day was the tofu done either curried or gingered. The tofu had that great meaty texture on the outside, and was tender within, and was a great canvas for the sauces’ flavors. White chicken coconut soup was tangy with ginger, and accompanied beautifully with all the entrees.

To end were small little dishes of baby tapoica and coconut milk with bits of corn niblets thrown in for texture. I prefer them without the corn, but liked it so much I went through 4 saucers of the stuff. Yes, I know the nutrition information of coconut milk.

This is life well lived.

Patu’s Thai Cuisine
2420 Rice Boulevard
Houston, TX 77005-3203
(713) 528-6998

Parking is kinda tricky. Suggest settling for parking spaces up to 2 blocks away. Besides, you’d probably need the walk afterwards.

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