We have bemoaned before about our ongoing search for a good Thai food restaurant in Portland. After catching an instagram photo of Red Onion Thai Cuisine we were hopeful. On a gorgeous summer night we biked up to trendy NW 23rd in hopes of finally getting a terrific Thai meal. Results? The hunt is still on. Typical of most Thai restaurants we have tried, Red Onion's dishes are over sauced, unmemorable and watered down.
There were few small things we did like about Red Onion. Their fresh rolls had a very small portion of noodles and additional herbs such as basil and mint, but the peanut dipping sauce was a complete miss, just tasted of peanut oil. Fresh rolls dipping sauce should be bold and full of spice and flavors other than just peanuts. We did enjoy the Ginger Halibut, but that was completely wiped away when we had a broiled catfish dinner the following night at my parents' house with similar flavors.
Thai food is mainly stir fried, so we don't understand when we order a stir fried dish and it comes overloaded with sauces that are completely watered down. We eventually had to ask for chili paste or sauce to spice up the dishes and add some kick to this completely bland meal. The Pad Thai noodles and the curry dishes looked really good, but we can make these dishes at home. After eating at Red Onion we really wished Thai Tom would open up a second restaurant in Portland, we would happily dine here weekly.
We do have it on good authority that the chef who opened Red Onion is the same chef who opened Cha Ba Thai on NE Sandy Boulevard. We plan to make a trip there soon and will report back. Until then the hunt for a good Portland Thai Restaurant is still on.