My Thai friend Bee has become friends with the owners of Thai Taste in Oak Hill. There's a Thai restaurant in Oak Hill, you say? Yeah, that was my initial reaction too, especially after learning they've been there for over 4 years! (They're in the same shopping center as the HEB.) Bee stops by Thai Taste when she doesn't feel like cooking certain Thai dishes, and began noticing there were never that many customers in the restaurant. So she mentioned to the owners that she has a food blogger friend (me!), and would they be interested in having me come out, try the food, and provide my honest feedback. And that's how we ended up at Thai Taste for dinner on a recent Saturday night. Disclosure: the food was comped by Thai Taste, but I was not compensated for my opinions which are my own.
The long version: keep reading!
We chatted with manager Som, and discussed some dishes to try. I think because we were there specifically for a tasting/sampling of the dishes, the portion size was not always representative of what's typically served.
Mixed appetizer plate, the pu pu platter of Thai food. Not a trace of grease on the egg roll or crab rangoon; spring roll nice and fresh; good flavor to the peanut sauce (and I am picky about peanut sauce because I make my own and I think it's the best of course); the chicken satay had nice grilled flavor and wasn't over-cooked; chicken wing was standard. The dumpling was the pleasant surprise on this plate as it had a bit of cumin in the ground pork, and it was very moist.
Sap's and always enjoyed it. This one I thought the meat was too tough, and I told them so. Like the satay, it had nice grill flavor, but had probably been left on the grill for too long. The twangy tamarind sauce had some heat to it, and was good also with the fish cakes and the other appetizers.
Thai Fresh, but they are very inconsistent.
Thai Passion downtown (though they are now relocating to NW Austin); she said the clients downtown wanted their food much spicier than the clients she sees in the southwest Austin suburban area they're now in. But don't discount that because they aren't asking for it spicy doesn't mean they're not willing to dabble with the condiment tray.
We talked also about their website and social media presence. They do have a website, and I think just a few tweaks to it would really improve its look and functionality. (And website designers out there??) At least their menu IS online. As for social media presence, they have none. They have a Facebook page, which hasn't been updated since 2011. Ask any food blogger, and we'd say that having a decent social media presence is crucial for driving your business, particularly for mom + pop places, food trailers, etc. It would take just a little bit of work, and some good photographs of their dishes to get it up to modern-day standards, but it's free marketing. Som said she's hesitant with Facebook because she feels her English isn't strong enough, but I say go for it!
The exterior sign was on the building facade was not lit up when we left at dark-thirty. Hopefully this is just a very temporary thing, but the very first comment on my Instagram post on my food there was "oh, I thought this place was closed". They got to look open to expect customers to come in. I will say for the roughly two hours we were there, there were very few other customers dining at the restaurant, but there was a VERY steady stream of people picking up their to-go orders, so people do know about the place. And to the trolls on Yelp who complained about their floor: get over it. While it may not look ideal, did it occur to you that this might be a landlord issue and something that a small business can't afford to fix themselves? Otherwise, it was very clean and comfortable.