Winner from the Web
Thai Eagle Rox is well worth a visit
By Erica Wayne 05/10/2012
Since the economy went to hell in a handbasket, I’ve been loathe to pay full price for most of our meals out. About two years back, I signed up with restaurant.com and bought a bunch of $25 and $50 coupons at an average of $2 to $4 apiece. They required a somewhat higher expenditure and an 18 percent tip, but still seemed quite a bargain.
Unfortunately, several of our favorite local restaurants (e.g., La Cañada’s Three Drunken Goats, Pasadena’s La Luna Negra, Montrose’s Oceanview, etc.) have stopped accepting these coupons. And we’ve had some disastrous meals at those who still take them. But others, like Sushi of Naples, allow us to enjoy excellent food and service at deep discounts, for which we are extremely grateful.
A couple of weeks ago, a girlfriend who teaches at Occidental College (as I did in a former life) decided to forego our usual Thai lunchtime hangout (Indra in Glendale) to redeem one of my restaurant.com coupons at a Thai restaurant only a few blocks from campus. Neither of us had heard of Thai Eagle Rox, but after calling to make certain the coupons were still valid, since I’ve been disappointed at other venues, I picked her up and we headed over.
I’d perused their Web site (thaieaglerox.com) to make sure they had all the dishes we usually order at Indra (especially important because, unfortunately, Nina has a deep intolerance for spicy food that makes it almost impossible for us to reach consensus on anything to share at most ethnic restaurants). So once I knew chicken satay ($7), egg rolls ($6), pad Thai (combination - $9) and barbecue pork ribs ($8) were available, I was fairly sure we’d have at least an acceptable meal.
Thai Eagle Rox is pretty unprepossessing at first and even second and third sight. It stands on the northeast corner of Avenue 46 and York Boulevard across from a liquor store, an intersection that’s yet to benefit from the rapid gentrification occurring a few blocks east, where more and more upscale eateries and shops are opening.
But the restaurant’s interior more than compensates for its site and nondescript exterior. Though small, it’s been gussied up to beat the band. Terracotta tile and wood floors, a wood-beamed ceiling with hanging fans, wood tables and lots of gleaming gilt sculptures and prints. Just over Nina’s head at our corner table was a print of 12 goldfish I’d kill to have.
Before we sat down, we checked out their patio. Secluded from street and neighboring properties with lots of greenery and a fountain or two, the outdoor seating is quite appealing, with umbrella-shaded tables, high-power heaters and opera lights for pleasant evening dining.
We ordered all of the items I’d researched (and, following my usual lunch with Nina practice, chose one “extra-spicy please” shrimp and pineapple curry - $8) with some brown rice, a Thai iced tea ($1.75) and a plain one (slightly more than the Thai tea but with free refills).
Our judgments of the various dishes differed. Nina’s a pretty tough grader: She gave the paddle-shaped chicken pieces on the skewers and the peanut sauce that accompanied them an A. I liked them but was disappointed that the small cucumber salad on the platter was missing both cilantro and the sliced red and green chilies I’m used to; B+ for the meat and peanut sauce, C– for the salad.
On the other hand, I liked the egg rolls much better than Nina. She found the filling of shredded veggies and glass noodles mushy. I didn’t mind the texture a bit. The shells were crisp, and the rolls came to the table straight from the fryer — almost too hot to eat immediately. B+ from me, C- from her.
She adored the pad Thai noodles, peanuts and shrimp therein. But the beef and pork chunks were tough. I concurred and decided that the next time I eat at Thai Eagle Rox (I have another coupon), I will definitely order this dish with shrimp only (oddly enough, a dollar cheaper than our combination). B+ from both of us.
The pork ribs had a great sauce, but they hadn’t spent enough time on the grill to give the char that actually makes the dish. Since we were getting full, I had the meat packaged and ran it under the broiler for me and my husband that night. Succulent! I’ve made a note to ask for the ribs well crisped on our next visit. (C from Nina, A from me and Alan once they were blackened.)
My shrimp and pineapple (red) curry was delicious, with bell peppers, mint leaves and coconut milk. Nina wouldn’t even taste it, so lots of it went home for our dinner. Not so fiery that it singed the tongue, but a nice burn in the back of the throat after swallowing. Definitely an A.
There are plenty of other items I’m longing to try: the hotter curries, noodles, stir-fries and salads with spicy lime or tamarind dressings, but that will have to wait. We ended the meal with an indulgent “trio” of coconut ice cream, coconut sticky rice and fried banana triangles ($8). Cold, sweet ice cream melts around a warm sticky rice pancake and molten bananas in their pastry shells, like our egg rolls, right out of the fryer. A+++ from both of us and one of the main reasons we swore to return soon. Guess I’ll have to buy yet another certificate!
Thai Eagle Rox
14601 York Blvd., Eagle Rock
Beer and Wine/