Location: 18 Duncan Street, Toronto
After recently having a mind-blowing meal at Khao San Road (which is just around the corner), I decided to Thai it up again, this time at Pai. Alas, the meal was quite tasty, but it wasn’t even close to being on the same level as KSR.
I ordered the Pad Gra Prow — “holy basil stir fried with your choice of ground pork, chicken, beef or tofu, steamed jasmine rice, thai style fried egg, nam prik nam pla sauce.”
I went with pork, and elected to go Thai spicy, which is the highest spice level.
And indeed, they were absolutely, positively not kidding around with the spice. I enjoyed the level of heat, but then I’m somewhat of a glutton for punishment in that regard (see also: my undying love for the “hot AF” chicken at Chica’s Chicken).
Sadly, aside from the impressive level of fiery heat, nothing about this dish particularly stands out. It’s perfectly tasty, but none of the flavours pop, even when you add the fish sauce that comes on the side. It’s a serviceable dish, but it’s boring.
Contrast that with the life-changing bowl of Khao Soi that I had at Khao San Road, and there’s no contest.
Of course, it’s not a fair comparison since the two dishes are so radically different. But my dining companion had the pad thai at both restaurants and was able to make a 1:1 comparison. He had the same reaction — Pai is fine, but KSR is magical.