Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thai Garden – Silvis, IL

Whenever I’m back in Illinois, I try to see as many friends as possible and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. This time it did. Somehow, we tricked Tekmet and his wife, FunHater and his GF, and Coach to go out for dinner. All the stars aligned and we booked it. FunHater decided we needed to go to this new Thai place near his house (which it turns out he’s gone to like 5 times since they’ve opened).

He of course couldn’t remember the name of the place, so I had to drive there a half hour early and then text people the location and the name of the place so everyone else could find it. Hilarious. The best thing was the marquis in front says “Catfish $9.95” and “Filet Mignon $11.95”. How Thai is that? I didn’t know what restaurant this was simply because they didn’t have any sort of signage. It had a printed tarp on the front with those stick-on letters that said “Thai Garden Restaurant”.

When I walked in, I could tell it was an old country western bar – which my parents told me used to be called The Pauper’s Den. My father used to go here for lunch during his working years and my mom said they had amazing hamburgers – which she generally doesn’t order anywhere. Too bad that place isn’t still around. There are still wagon wheels and super dark wood and wicker lights and HUGE beer coolers behind the bar. This place didn’t have even the slightest touch of Asian-ity to it. Hilarious.

When everyone showed up, we all scoured the menu and figured out what we wanted. Of course, they brought us out water, and like idiots, we all grabbed our glasses and chugged….Silvis water. If you haven’t heard about this apparent lapse in water testing technology, Silvis proudly announces they have the worst water in the country and you can see the evidence of this by hundreds of water heaters discarded on every street corner in the city. I don’t know how they haven’t fixed this, but they haven’t. It tastes terrible and if it does to your insides what it does to water heater and plumbing pipes, it CAN’T be legal. Anyway, continuing on…

The menu does have quite a few awesome looking things on it. I’m still really surprised by the marquis with all the white people food on it, because this place is clearly cooking Asian food. And because it’s a Thai place and they usually have them, I ordered Fresh rolls/Spring rolls. They’re my favorite and I like to compare them at as many places as possible. I also went with the “Chef’s Very Own Thai Pasta” – yes, that’s the name. Chicken with tomatoes, onions, bamboo shoots, chilies, Thai basil, and seasonings over egg noodles. Sounded pretty good to me!

While we were waiting for our food, this random guy comes up to Coach and asks the most hilarious intro question I think I’ve ever heard, “Were you at Rugrats about 10 years ago?” This guy remembered seeing Coach at the Rugrats movie when they showed the trailer for the (at the time) new Star Wars film. Yes, Coach is a nerd and paid for an entire movie just to see the SW trailer. So Coach recognizes him and says, “yes, and I saw you at Toys R Us afterwards buying toys, and then at the premier of the star wars film, and then at some sort of ‘club’…” Apparently, it was a gentlemen’s club since the guy was standing there with his kid talking to Coach. Oddly, the guy DID look like Judge Reinhold. Super nice guy, but this was a conversation only two nerds would ever have.

The appetizers came out and I think I got some other kind of roll, since these were fried crispy. They were slightly better than average – I have eaten these kinds of rolls before, but they were not what I was looking forward to. I did like them, but it still wasn’t what I ordered. They were flavorful and the dipping sauce that came with was fine, but it still wasn’t fresh and tasty like I had hoped for. (And apparently, I ate them and forgot to take a photo for the blog – my apologies.)

After a seriously long wait for them not being very busy, our food finally came out Also, the waitress gave Tekmet and I chopsticks, but no one else – clearly she could tell we were the most Asian at the table. The Chef’s Very Own Thai Pasta was just average. It had some sort of fish or oyster sauce in it, which made it sort of weird. The food itself was flavorful, but everything had this weird fishy taste to it, which was kind of a bummer. I’ll chalk it up to bad ordering, not bad cooking. FunHater’s eggplant chicken was better than mine, so I’d recommend that if you go there.

We had some of the most awesome conversations about the best subjects ever. I love these guys sooooo much and I wish I could go out to dinner with them every time I come into town. I will make more of a concerted effort based on the amount of hilarity that ensued at dinner. And as a bonus, I might have a new theme for 2010, thanks to FunHater! We will wait and see if anything more awesome comes up, but I doubt it will. It’s a total winner. Another hilarious thing we saw was the bathroom sign for the men’s room pointed to the emergency door. It was actually pointing towards the back of the restaurant, but it totally looked like you just headed out to the parking lot to pee. Classy place, this.

I’ll probably go back here just because I need to give it another try, but the first time wasn’t stellar. There are seriously good Thai places in the QCs (yes, I know that’s weird, but it’s true), so I’ll see when I can back to the Thai Garden Restaurant.

Top 5 things about Thai Garden
1. Eggplant Chicken
2. Really nice staff working (hot waitress and then after the meal, the owner gave us coupons to come back)
3. Really big menu – lots of stuff to choose from (including super white-people food specials, I guess)
4. Hanging with some of the best people in the world
5. Hearing Judge Reinhold call Coach out for being at Rugrats

Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd loved FunHater, Tekmet, and their various significant others – and also Thai food – she should have been here enjoying this with us all
2. Silvis water
3. Super long wait for food
4. Weird fish sauce in my food
5. Didn’t actually get what I ordered


Katii C. said...

There's a difference between vietnamese spring rolls and thai spring rolls. I learned the hard way too.

Chao said...

No really, the description was for the fresh ones and I got the fried ones. I always check that. I didn't get this fat by ordering the wrong things:) hahahaha. When's our next food outing!?!?!

Kristin said...

Dear Sir,
This is in response to your blog entry about the Thai Garden Restaurant in Silvis, IL. I find myself in living in a town called Silvis IL because of work and I was really excited when a Thai place was so close ( yes and know that Exotic Thai is not far. I think that supporting local businesses is very important, especially ones that are just getting on their feet and ones that are really good.

1) the Décor. - yes this is interesting, does not seem like a Thai place. I was too a bit confused about some of the signs. This is a new restaurant, give them some time to get on their feet and know they are going to succeed before they go spending $$$$ on Asian decorations. That is just common sense.

2) I have been there a few times. And I would like to share some dishes that are very good!!!
A) Pad Thai ( this was fantastic)
B) Pumpkin Curry - much better then Exotic Thai
C) Pineapple Fried Rice- AMAZING

3) And while I do agree with you about the quality of Silvis, IL water ( something I did not know about until after I bought my house in Silvis ( New to the area) ) I hope that people will not be discouraged to go to Thai Garden because of your comment there.

Also, I saw some of your other reviews on restaurants in the area. It seems that either you or your friend coach looks like the guy who works at the Moline Library.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me what the good Thai restaurants in the QCs are? I just moved up here from Champaign, IL (where there are AWESOME Thai places, my best friend down there is Thai). We went to Exotic Thai shortly after I moved here and I was SOOOO disappointed. Not only is it not authentic, it wasn't GOOD. I asked for my green curry "Thai hot" and it was barely spicy at all. Not only that, they didn't have my favorite, som tum. What kind of Thai restaurant doesn't have som tum?????
Eagerly awaiting your answer so I can find some good food!!!

Anonymous said...

I have lived here all my life,over 50 years, I am American and have become a regular customer at Thai Garden because I love their food and have learned many things about Thai people and their culture.

Regarding your comments about the Thai Garden Restaurant in Silvis, Il.
You sir are not familiar with Thai culture are you? Don't you know that:
1) catfish is one of the most common foods for Thai people

2) and about the theme of the restaurant, did you not see the giant golden tree with the red background at the back of the dining room? Also the cabinet for their menus was made in Thailand. Another example of your ignorance is the wooden wall hanging called a "Kalae" that is near the kitchen entrance and the many wall hangings which refer to their god Buddha

3) Where is this "wagon wheel" you speak of? I have never seen it, and have been going there ever since they opened.

4) Also, what is your definition of "Asian-ity "? If you think seeing a bunch of Buddha statues, images or busts of Buddha all over warrants "Asian-ity", means you do not know Thai culture at all. If Thai people display Buddha just to decorate or promote an "Asian" theme, they are being disrespectful to their lord Buddha, and is actually is prohibited to do in Thailand.

5) don't you know that 99.9% of all Thai dishes are prepared with fish sauce? Its Thai food!!!!

You should be more careful about what you say here on the "net" and have a better understanding before you write something negative.
What is it you are looking for when you go to a Thai restaurant anyway? Decorations or good, authentic Thai food. If you want the bells and whistles with Thai food with Chinese chefs, not an authentic Thai cook, then go to Exotic Thai or Tantra in Davenport.

Anonymous said...

In response to the person that moved from Champaign, IL ---- Welcome to the Quad City Area. As far as Thai food is concerned, the Thai Garden Restaurant in Silvis, IL has the best Thai food in the whole QC area! My friends and I consider this restaurant as authentic as you can get. The food is awesome...Give them a try!!!

Anonymous said...

You are so right. We have tried many Thai places and found this one very outstanding good. I had my own ethnic place and know from experience, people that font have a clue about food know how to run their mouth. Of you don't like it stay home and eat your own. Its very hard to get started and they don't need the negative response. Help them out and be nice or shut up; and stay home.