J and I like Thai food. Or rather J likes Thai food, I dream about it on a near daily basis and love it beyond all reason. One particular lemon fish that I ate as a 13 year old in Banglampoo before the mall burnt down and had to be rebuilt will forever be my most perfect fish.
I am in the process of moving to North Carolina and we have not discovered our go-to Thai restaurant yet. We have this kind of pan-Asian fusion restaurant around the corner, Tasu, and the food is a lot better than that shady description makes it sound. It is not identifiably Chinese, or Thai or Vietnamese, but their wonton soup is a thing of wonder, and everything they send out is delicious. I love it, but it is not where I would go if I wanted Thai food.
So we decided to try something new, and ventured into Thai Villa, in Cary. Only 3 tables were occupied, which is not the best sign, but it's kind of hidden away in one corner of a strip mall, so we shrugged that off. Big mistake. On entry the place looked promising. There wasn't a single tv, which has been my major grouse about most American restaurants- why must people always be watching sports? Even when out to dinner? And why do you need a 5 screens per room to watch them on? Anyhow. The lack of screens and the friendly service were a good start. But it was all boiled socks from there.
J ordered the Chicken Tom Yum Soup and Rainforest Curry with chicken. I ordered Glass Noodle Vegetable Rolls and Kapow Chicken (chicken with basil, red chilli paste and green peppers). The soup looked and tasted as if it came from a Knorr soup cube that hadn't even been brought to the boil. The chicken smelt bad. I would find that all the chicken they served that evening was really really smelly. The vegetable roll was a small limp thing with little to recommend it. Both the chicken main courses had the flavour of nothing so much as the boiled socks of a teenage boy.
The chicken was rank, but even worse was the criminal way in which they dealt with the curries. We decided not to stay, and that's never happened before. Neither of us has left a table at a restaurant after just a few bites convinced that the meal is beyond saving.
I've been to Thailand several times, and I don't expect the food to taste like on the streets of Bangkok. It is really painful though to encounter something so rank that calling it Thai would be insulting to the cuisine, and calling it food would be an unfortunate mistake.