Even at 8 months old and counting, Thai Orange Cuisine has its act together.
The service is assured; the restaurant is bright and comfortable, belying its staid Lake Worth strip-mall setup; and best of all, the food is terrific.
The proof is in the curries and delicate noodle dishes, cooked up by the former chef at Golden Moon Thai and Chinese Cuisine in Weatherford, and served promptly at this family-run restaurant with aplomb — not to mention an orange wedge on every plate.
The menu is extensive, with 25 lunch specials alone. That’s in addition to various appetizers, salads, entrees and chef recommendations. There’s a kids menu, too, with smaller pad Thai and fried rice portions, should your offspring not be like ours, who opted for the chicken nuggets and fries.
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The fried tofu ($4.95) starter consisted of eight isosceles fritters, lined up like soldiers on waxed paper. They could have been helped along a bit in presentation by some greenery, but they were crunchy delights, especially when dipped into an accompanying sweet and sour sauce. The shrimp summer rolls ($4.40, unfried spring rolls in Vietnamese dining parlance) were perfectly supple, with soft rice paper encasing the lettuce-heavy cylinders.
The lunch specials ($8.95) impressed, too: The pork fried rice, studded with veggies and dotted with scrambled egg pieces, was a marvel of textures buoyed by just the right amount of curry spice and oil. And the pad woon sen, sauteed glass noodles with egg, cabbage, carrots, green onions and bean sprouts, eschewed the ostensible mush factor, toeing the line between luscious and light. Both dishes came with a choice of salad or soup. Of the latter, the hot and sour rendition lacked the hallmark vinegar base and instead tasted as though egg drop soup had found its way into the bowl. It was not a bad thing.
However, the soup to order here is the tom kha noodle soup ($8.95), a large bowl of near-monochromatic goodness. With its coconut milk base — plus the chicken that I had chosen as its protein — and white vermicelli noodles, the dish was awash in neutral tones. Green flecks of scallions and al dente broccoli saved the bowl from a bland presentation. But the flavors were anything but. Creamy yet tangy, thanks to lemon juice, it struck the perfect notes. The fact that it was another one of those unseasonably weird 50-degree days in April meant I gladly brought home what I didn’t finish.
For the roughly 200 other hot days of the year, look no further than the iced Thai coffee ($2.95), strong stuff infused with cream and vanilla.
Served in a Mason jar, it was a lovely presentation that seemed to exemplify what Thai Orange is all about: a homey, authentic and pleasant dining experience.
Thai Orange Cuisine
- 6060 Rocky Point Trail, Lake Worth
- Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4:30-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday