On a day trip up to Lake Tahoe, I knew I wanted Thai food for lunch. I looked over the online reviews for the over seven Thai restaurants in the Lake Tahoe region. Orchids stood out from the rest by leaps and bounds, for a good reason too. I can thoroughly recommend Orchids. Alone it was worth the two hour car ride from Reno. I had lunch on a Wednesday just after noon. The restaurant was somewhat busy, later to discover that they do a respectable take out crowed during lunch. I must have seen 7 take out orders when I was enjoying my lunch. Orchids lunch menu has 18 items for only $5.99. Portion sizes are small, but they were well worth this miserly pittance. Upgrade to Duck, Scallops or Shrimp meats for $2 or seafood for $4. Again very reasonable prices. My guest and I shared the Happy Wrapper, a marinated chicken and herb egg rolls. The filling was moist and delicate. The wrapper was fully cooked, crisp through and through. Sure it was a bit pricy at $7.99 for 3 tiny rolls cut into 6 pieces, but the execution and taste were spot on. Before the main dishes were served we were treated to a small salad of greens, shaved carrot and deseeded cucumber. Oddly the menu doesn't list this in either the Salad section or in the wording just before the lunch special. I'm guessing it was part of the lunch specials. To say the least it was the best use of peanut I have ever tasted. First up was the Soy Sauce Noodle with Chicken. The chicken was cooked perfectly, and considering Orchid's does not use MSG a double thumbs up. In Asia there are many quality levels for soy, and I have tried a good sample, so I know good soy when I taste it. This was a sweeter variety, and I am betting it is a higher quality soy that is brewed in a traditional culture. The noodle was neither salty or overpowering. It was perhaps a bit overcooked for my liking, but my guest found the texture to be acceptable. For the second entree came a delectable Spicy basil noodle. I had asked for it Thai hot, perhaps something got lost in translation or perhaps the Lake Tahoe clientele prefer their spice to be on the tamer side. In any case the spice tray was asked for. If you frequent Thai restaurants, you are familiar with the Thai bird chilies that are suspended in a sweetened vinegar. Well I must say, when I tried this it was hot, and a pleasant flavor. Lesser quality spice trays rarely add more than sheer heat to the dish. Again another thumbs up. Oh that pork, was again very tender. The third entree was served just as we were done tasting the second entree. This was a Rama Curry which is steamed fresh spinach topped with Panang curry sauce mixed with peanut sauce and our choice of chicken. Normally I find the spinach is over done and allowed to cook too long before being plated. It was perfection, tender but still a good bite letting you know it is fresh spinach. As with many peanut dishes I find them too cloying. But in this case I was pleasantly surprised to find the peanut taking a back seat to the curry. Food aside, the rest of the restaurant is just at par. The restrooms were for the most part clean, but whenever a deodorizer is used to such an extent I wonder. The walls along the booth I was sitting at had splatter marks, which could only be seen in just the right light, but still obviously not washed down. The air vents were filthy not seeing a wipe down for at least a month if not longer. The fish tank in the restaurant was due for a cleaning showing algae growth along the entire front, let alone the rest of the interior. Most people overlook the nitty gritty in restaurant cleanliness but I find it to be a good indicator of how the kitchen is kept up. If it was not for these housekeeping faux pas, Orchids would have received a solid 9 out of ten. Still an 8 is quite respectable and worth going back again and again.
This is a awsome place to eat. Fresh authentic Thai food, along with great service and not over priced. I will definitely make this a stop for dinner or lunch everytime I'm in town. Love it!!!!!
Amazing food. Almost better than san fran. What a pleasant surprise. Service is slow though although maybe they were overwhelemed since it was dec 30th