Monday, December 17, 2007

Blue Mango

Blue Mango, Thai food in a small Santa Clara location

We love Thai food, and yet there isn't really one Thai restaurant that stands above the rest. We go to Amarin a lot because it's the closest one. We used to go to Thai Pepper because it was the closest one (and they made a mean pineapple fried rice). The only other one we've reviewed in this blog was Siam Royal in Palo Alto, a restaurant we've visited exactly once.

But Blue Mango had come up in Best of Silicon Valley a couple times, and when a friend of ours came back into town and suggested it, we jumped at the chance to try it.

It's located on El Camino in Santa Clara, in a small space that used to be an Italian restaurant (they still haven't changed the glass on the partitions). The kitchen faces right out into the dining room a la Banana Leaf, so you can see and smell what's cooking. The friendly hostess surveyed the small room of twelve or so tables and told us that there was one party that was almost finished and could we just wait for them? Even though we said that would be fine, she apparently reconsidered and cleared off a table near the back for us to be seated earlier.

The menu is impressively varied and interesting-looking, with a vegetarian menu accompanying the regular one. They had a pumpkin curry special, which I tried, while Mark opted for the mango curry, and we started, of course, with tom kah soup. When you order, they ask for you to rate your spiciness level from 1 to 10 (some dishes have a higher minimum). We opted for three, the lowest the curry could go, while our friend went for five (which he would later regret).

The tom kah was quite good, with the usual landmines of cilantro and lemongrass, but not too spicy. Good coconut flavor, mushrooms, and moist chicken. Both the curries were slightly on the spicy side; not too much for me, but I had to take breaks. They were just right for Mark. I'd also gotten a Thai iced tea with soy milk, which was interesting to watch them make. They use half and half regularly, and seemed to put a lot less soy milk in mine than the half and half in our friend's, but it tasted just as good and did a nice job cooling the fires from the curries.

I enjoyed the pumpkin taste and would get the pumpkin curry again. The mango curry was less distinctive but still good as well. Overall, though, I don't think anything jumped out at us that would make this place worth the drive. The Bay Area's Thai restaurants are generally top-notch, and this one is no exception. However, there are two or three closer ones that we'd go to more frequently simply because they're closer. I wonder if this one won "Best of Silicon Valley" just because it's nearer the center of Silicon Valley, and something had to win.

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