When I have a craving for Thai food, Bangkok Alley is not normally on my radar. I have certain places that I frequent for this cuisine. However, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone for a friend’s birthday dinner one night. I had actually never stepped into a Bangkok Alley before this night, so I was in for a brand new experience.
I liked the atmosphere in the bar/lounge area. There were cozy benches with lots of brightly colored throw pillows. The dim lighting and candles gave it an elegant touch. The whole place was pretty small, but the intimate feeling worked.
Our servers were very sweet, but they seemed a little understaffed for our big party. Granted, we had around 20-25 people, but our food seemed to take longer than it should have. Also, I ran out of water before the food got there, and it never got refilled. This poses a pretty big problem, considering how saucy and hot Thai dishes usually are.
We started with some spring rolls, because they are “the best in town”, according to my friends. We opted for the Fresh Basil Shrimp Roll, which is described as “Basil, shredded carrot, lettuce vermicelli, and shrimp wrapped in rice noodle skin, served with special dipping sauce.” I have to admit, they were very yummy! I much prefer the soft rice skin as opposed to the crunchy rolls, because you taste all of the flavors on the inside. I could have eaten enough of these to make it my main meal. They were huge and full of flavor. The dipping sauce was the right combination of spicy hot and sweet.
My company also raved on and on about the “Drunken Noodle”, or “Pad-Kee-Mao” in Thai. There were many choices on the menu, so I was happy to have a suggestion to narrow down my choices. This dish is described as “Stir fried flat wide noodle with fresh basil, egg, onion, bell pepper, bean sprout in special cooking wine sauce”. I love Thai noodle dishes, so I was ready to take on Drunken Noodle. The dish comes with a choice of chicken or tofu, and I opted for the tofu.
The first thing I noticed is what a generous portion of noodles this was. You will not go hungry, for sure. Thai food is known to be spicy, so I should have known to expect a kick in the pants. This dish wasn’t Thai hot, but it was well above mild for sure. Overall, the dish was yummy. It didn’t knock my socks off like I was expecting, but I will order it again in the future.
Also keep in mind this is an Americanized Thai restaurant, so prices are not comparable to your hole-in-the-wall joints around town. You pay extra for the atmosphere and the higher quality ingredients. I say it is worth it, if you are looking for a nice meal out.
Overall, Bangkok Alley did not rise to the top of my Thai restaurant list, but it made it to the top 5. I am not aching to go back, but I can guarantee I will when the time is right.
For more information on Bangkok Alley, visit their website. Their Collierville location also has a Facebook page, but I cannot tell if it applies to all locations. You can also more reviews on Bangkok Alley on Yelp and Urbanspoon.