Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thai Lotus

3800 W. National
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Milwaukee has been the worst town I've ever lived in for Thai restaurants (besides Iowa City-- there were none) but I finally found one to really love, even though it's all the way over thar in Silver City. I should move over to Silver City, actually, because that's where the best restaurants are, as well as this big factory that I'm fascinated with. Thai Lotus has Chinese, Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese food, certainly a lot of the menu to experiment with, but on this day, I broke New Year's Resolution #6 (no more lunch buffets).

The lunch buffet is $6.95, so even if I was able to restrain myself it would be a good deal. And there were many items that didn't contain wheat flour or soy sauce (which contains wheat flour, believe it or else!) but I could barely move beyond the Tom yum soup, the Pad Thai, and the green curry, as pedestrian as that sounds. They were all really quite delicious, and though they might be a disappointment to you macho fire eaters, I didn't get the nickname "Mild Plus" for nothing. I overate. Then I went back for seconds and overate again. Buffet food is often kind of mushy and has been sitting around awhile, but Pad Thai actually gets better with that treatment. The curry was my favorite I've had in the last seven years.

Then the amazing thing happened. The waitress, who was so nice that she nearly made up for seven years of scowling, sour Midwestern attitudes, asked if I'd like to take some food to go. Are you crazy I asked? This is a buffet. That is just not done. It will just be thrown away, she said, so I agreed to this madness. She then filled a large Styrofoam shell with about five pounds of Pad Thai, which is an excellent refrigerated leftover dish. That evening I had cold Pad Thai for dinner. The next morning I had cold Pad Thai for breakfast, and it was getting even tastier, and more and more free. If I hadn't made a pig of myself, soon thereafter, I'd be eating cold Pad Thai right now while writing this.

But you know, don't expect to show up at the end of the lunch buffet and be offered a take-out container-- and for God's sake don't ever be crude and ask for such a thing. I'm sure this incident was an anomaly, and will never happen again. But still, the kindness and generosity of that woman was genuine, and I'm certain I will return there soon. I wish I could do something for her, but I guess a generous tip and three stars in one of the world's most respected restaurant review guides will have to do.


*** (three stars)

--Ray Speen

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