Sunday, November 26, 2017

First Look: Krua Urban Thai

Editor's note: Krua closed in March 2018

Krua Urban Thai has moved into the old Barley Swine location at 2024 South Lamar. I had heard about their yummy crab fried rice from two different people, so it was time to go check it out for myself. My neighbor and I visited on the Friday before Thanksgiving, arriving a bit after 6 pm. We had no problem getting a table, but by the time we left the place was full and there were people waiting outside.

We decided on a variety of dishes to share, and told the server to send them out in whatever order they were ready.

Krua Urban Thai brussels sprouts
Krua's Brussels sprouts were tossed in a bit of fish sauce and a basil vinaigrette. Nice and crispy with excellent flavor.
Krua Urban Thai crab fried rice
The crab fried rice, one of their signature dishes. Great flavor, but I thought it needed more uumph to it
 and the saucer with chili fish sauce did in fact help. 
Krua Urban Thai pad see ewe
Pad see ewe (or pad se ew) is one of my favorite Thai noodle dishes, as I love the wider rice noodles. This was quite good, though I think my favorite in town is still at Thai Taste in Oak Hill for the fact that theirs contains a touch more sauce.
Krua Urban Thai pork belly pak ka nar
Pork belly pak ka nar -- this pork was amazing. While it doesn't look it, it had a nice crispness to it
Overall, no complaints about the quality of the food. What did bother us though is the timing. The Brussels, which are an appetizer item, did come out first and relatively fast. And then we sat there for about 15 minutes until another dish came out. Then the other two dishes came fairly quickly after that. At a small two-top table, it is virtually impossible to have three large plates on the table. The tables are also fairly close together, which gave us the opportunity to admire the pad thai to one side of us (and to learn it was the father and young son's second or third time there, which for a place barely open a month says something), and the diners on the other side of us inquired about our food.

Pros: food was for the most part, delicious; more Thai variety in South Austin is great; online ordering coming soon. I took my leftovers to work the next day and my Thai friend Bee tried the fried rice and pork belly dishes. While she said it was not the same type of crab they use in Thailand, she did give her blessing to both dishes, and she and I are making plans to come back to Krua. Service was friendly though perhaps not highly experienced, though I guess we could have specified "keep the dishes coming in whatever order" rather than "whatever order they come out is fine."

Cons: the timing of the dishes, noise level (there's nothing to buffer the interior rock walls), decor was lacking (I can't really understand why there are two New Mexico chile ristras hanging over the counter), they were out of one of the wines we ordered.

Verdict: thumbs up! Will certainly be back!
Krua Urban Thai logo