Thai Orchid

Moving furniture can really work up your appetite.


Thai Orchid

After heaving all the heaviest stuff I own and shivering from the teeth-shockingly cold December night, I trudged my way to Thai Orchid in Moorhead. A spicy dish would surely warm me up.

The restaurant is large and tacked onto the Moorhead Center Mall. To be honest, it may have been my first local restaurant visit in Moorhead, as I usually stay in Fargo when passing through and needing a bite.

Despite the frigidity, I ordered a Thai iced tea. It’s something I find difficult to refuse. It’s smoky black tea sweetened with sugar and condensed milk on ice. And the tall glass I downed at Thai Orchid was among the best I’ve had.


Thai Iced Tea

Service was spot-on, with a quick greeting and prompt seating. Our waiter was perfect, pleasant enough without being annoying. Knowledgeable but not overwrought.

Coming from the Grand Forks area, where there are two restaurants owned by the same people who own Thai Orchid and other Fargo eateries, I knew what to expect from the menu. In East Grand Forks, there is Little Bangkok, a casual but slightly-upscale place that has great sushi and other Thai specialty dishes. I haven’t had a bad meal there. And just down the street there is Drunken Noodle, a more casual restaurant focusing on noodle dishes and featuring a full bar and space for musicians. They’re both great additions to northern valley dining.

I decided to try something new, though, and went with the duck curry. My dining mate went with a familiar staple, the Pad Thai. To start, I ordered both of us the fresh spring rolls.

The wait was a bit longer than normal, but that might have been exaggerated by my hunger. The spring rolls arrived in a little boat sort of a plate and with two sauces, one a sweet honey-based sauce and another that tasted of Hoisin.


Fresh Spring Rolls

The rolls were delicious and perfectly balanced. I’ve had other spring rolls that tasted only of cilantro. I could’ve made a meal with just these. But that night, I needed a little something more.

The duck curry came next, accompanied by white rice. The dish was attractive enough, with a rich sauce surrounding the sliced pieces of duck and vegetables. But I found the sauce a little too rich and overly coconut-y. The spice factor was high, but there was only heat and no real flavor to it.


Duck Curry

The duck was unfortunately fatty. I would’ve liked it if the cook had dropped the meat in a searing pan just before slicing it to crisp up the fat side and give it another texture and flavor dimension. Without that, the duck was bland and a bit tough. I ended up leaving a few pieces behind, which is a shame.

My dining mate thought the Pad Thai was adequate, as did I. Not the best I’ve had but perfectly fine and satisfying.


Pad Thai

There were pluses and minuses to the meal at Thai Orchid. There are a few other things that caught my eye on the menu and I’ll definitely head back to give them a try. And a Thai restaurant with a few misses is infinitely better than another Burger King or Pizza Hut, right? Well, at least I think so.


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