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Versus Neecha

1432 Valencia St./25th St., SF
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Pretrial hearing at Dovre Club


Well, Judge McClure did it this time! He brought us quite a gem. A few blocks beyond the strip of Valencia now littered with popular restaurants, Suriya doesn't look like a place you'd just visit on a whim. But thanks to McClure (and reader-eater Louise), there we sat, eating money bags. Money Bags, that is. Just get them. This little appetizer ($6.25) is better than money.

Suriya Photo The noodle dish, Khao Soi, was served in little bowls and pleased me the most of our larger dishes. The pork in here was seasoned incredibly and every bite was a firecracker of flavor. Two asterisks means "Very Spicy," and it was. (Three asterisks means "VERY, VERY Spicy," but nothing on the menu has three -- search me.)

Nue Yang Kra Tiem, "a very special dish of Bangkok," was marinated beef in beautiful slices, red in and charred black out -- the perfect way to cook it, as Judge Turner stated. This entree rivaled the garlic pork at Neecha, and there was more of it. Unlike at Neecha, I was completely full -- and fulfilled -- when I left Suriya. This meal was amazing, front to back.

Oh, as a side note, several items are very creative, in ingredients and in name -- like Evil Jungle Prince and Waterfall Beef. Also, there's an entree called Sea Bass 2000, intriguingly sautéed in macadamia nut oil. I'd stay away from that, though. It's 2001 now, and you don't want to be eating fish that old.



Well, I'm not going to beat around the Nue Yang Kra Tiem. No, I'm just going to say it. Suriya is the best damn Thai food I've ever eaten. Now, with that said I think I'm going to head over there right now. Wait, I think you need to get on over and try it out. Maybe you'll agree with me -- maybe not -- but I don't think it could disappoint.

I just want to go over a couple highlights. Not an easy task because the whole meal was divine. One of our appetizers, the Money Bags, cannot be passed by. The name says it, it's money. What it is, is prawns, ground chicken, and Thai seasonings bundled in crispy rice wrappers and tied with green onion strings, served with house salad and a delicious sweet dipping sauce. You get about eight to a plate and once you start popping them in your mouth you won't want to stop. I may need to order a plate of these crispy, crunchy bundles of goodness for myself next time.

Another excellent choice comes from the noodle section of the menu. The Kho Soi (Chiang Mai Noodles) was a mind blower. They refer to it as a very traditional dish of Northern Thailand. It's noodles, special curry sauce, choice of meat( or tofu if you like), and some long crunchy bits with garnishes on the side. The bits of pork were plentiful and cooked to perfection. The flavor was incredible. The reason this dish could blow my mind has to do with the fact that it contains coconut milk, not one of this Judge's favorite ingredients. The dish was so good the milk didn't matter and I may be changing the whole way I view that nectar of the nut. Well, at least in this dish I will. The atmosphere is pleasant, the folks are nice, the dishes are prepared with care and are presented like works of art. I only wish my pal Louise had recommended it to the Court -- she actually introduced it to me way back when. She would surely have received a bib. Maybe next time. Go now and enjoy a Thai feast.



Suriya Srithong, I salute you. That would be the proprietor of this great restaurant. I don't know if he's cooking back there, but if he is I'd like to shake his hand and buy him a drink. Because I can't say I've ever had better Thai food.

Good God, the Money Bags!!! Super tasty little crispy wrappers filled with prawns, chicken and other goodness. These little flavor sacks put the bang in Bangkok, and that's no lie. They look like money bags, too. Tasty dipping sauce to go with it, of course.

The Khao Soi (Chiang Mai Noodles) was like a flavor circus in my mouth. We chose pork with it, but one could have beef, chicken, or tofu. This dish of noodles in a coconut-curry sauce with garnishes of mustard pickle, shallots, lemon and chili sauce was a riot of flavors, yet perfectly balanced. To me, this is the real Thai flavor madness. And that's a good thing. Definitely get this if you go.

Also ordered the Kai Basil Sauce with chicken instead of prawns. This was a pretty intense basil sauce with sautéed chicken. It was good, but maybe a little too much basil? Or maybe there was too much mint in there. Whatever, still good.

Then there was the Nue Yang Kra Tiem, beef "marinated in fresh garlic, black pepper, and coriander root, then quickly grilled." And I tell you what, they got it right. Oh so right. Crispy charred outside and nice and pink inside. Excellent. Reminds me of that Helmand beef...but I digress. It was perfect, served with some tasty spicy salad-like stuff.

With most dishes between 7 and 13 bucks, Suriya is no bargain hunter's dream, but it's Thai food of the highest order. All these dishes were presented pretty as a picture, with attention to color and design in a nice atmosphere. Then they came through with amazing fresh flavor. Look for the big red elephant and find Suriya as soon as you can, you will not be sorry.







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