Thai food in New York is almost as ubiquitous as cabs. In pretty much every neighborhood in Manhattan, you can find some cookie cutter Thai place that serves the staples, like pad thai, basil fried rice, tom yum soup, etc. Most of these places, like Spice and Qi, are pretty well priced, especially around lunch. It’s like the cool and affordable Asian food to eat even now. The better Thai places are in Queens, but unless you live in Queens or are someone like me and like to travel for food, you probably don’t care about this.
So I was really confused when I was in Midtown Atlanta for the last three days to find out that what is considered a decent Thai place was going to charge me $15 for shrimp pad thai for lunch… and then charge me an additional $3 because I asked for tofu with it. There are no lunch specials like you would find in San Francisco or New York – the lunch prices are the dinner prices. It was really shocking since pretty much all of the other restaurants I’ve eaten at in Atlanta seemed pretty cheap. And for the record, though the shrimp was cooked well, the pad thai itself was sub-par and on the verge of being flavorless like the Yelp reviews said.
And then Chris made me think about it when he said that Thai food is probably still considered exotic in Atlanta, so the restaurant feels like it can justify its relatively high prices. Like my classmate told me the other night, Korean food right outside of Atlanta is good and cheap, but anywhere else in Atlanta, it’s nearly impossible to find good, authentic Asian food. Southern food and BBQ would probably get tiring after a while.