The name change for Orchid Thai along the outer reaches of downtown Bend does not seem to mean a décor change—it is still paper umbrellas, fake flowers, and delicate Asian artwork. Nor has the menu seemed to change much—which isn't really good or bad; just something in-between.
The menu seems to be essentially the same wide-ranging offering from its previous restaurant, with the addition of a "budget menu," filled with all-day $9 specials like the Basil Lover Chicken topped with a deep-fried sunny-side-up egg. Smoky and salty, that dish was a generous helping, with hints of fresh basil breaking through. A side salad that may or may not have been part of the special also arrived—a small dish of shredded lettuce with a warm peanut sauce. That rich sauce sent me searching for more of the same, on more dishes in the menu and, if I return for another lunch, will be what I hunt down.
Lunch specials are served weekdays 11 am- 3 pm, for $7.95, a modest price for a generous and diverse offering. Besides the price difference between the "specials" and "lunch specials," we weren't sure about what extra the $9 buys; the less expensive lunch special includes an additional small dish of Pad Thai, which was moderately tasty—slightly tangy, it could have used a splash more citrus.
"Orchid Thai could deepfry a cat and I would eat it," declared music editor Bri, who went on to drool/explain about the must-be-heaven-sent veggie tempura smorgasbord from the previous restaurant, with deep fried broccoli, onion, carrots, mushroom and green beans served with plum sauce—and, which continues to be featured on the "new" menu.
Inspite of her love affair with the veggie tempura, however, Bri oddly ordered the garlic chicken special, which came with the same peanut-sauce dressed iceberg lettuce and the additional Pad Thai. The chicken, she said, was standard, salty and on a bed of cabbage. She was, however, thrilled with the hombre-orange Thai iced tea; a sweet and powerful drink.
Our resident vegetarian, staff writer Erin Rook, ordered the Massaman curry with tofu, and sides of soup and pad thai. Instead of the peanut sauce salad, he ordered the soup, which he declared was salty, nutty and spicy.
The curry was pretty standard fare—tofu, peanuts, carrots and potato. The lightly fried tofu, Erin explained, tasted more like oil than curry, and the potatoes were a bit mushy.
The Thai iced tea, on the other hand, he declared was great—well balanced; sweet, but not too sweet; milky, but not too milky.
Lunch 11 am - 3 pm
Dinner 4:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Saturday noon - 9:30 pm
1900 NE Division St., #110