Review: Tamarind Hall
I love Thai food – even more so since my recent trip to Bangkok – and we have options aplenty in San Francisco. Quantity, however, does not necessarily equal quality – it’s way more challenging to get good Thai food than one would expect.
Thankfully, the newly opened Tamarind Hall in North Beach – named after a sour fruit often used in Thai cuisine – has emerged to fill that void.
While they do serve old favorites like Pad Thai, they also have authentic Thai street food items that you'd be hard-pressed to find outside of BKK, like Yam Makua Yao (tender grilled eggplant with soft cooked duck eggs, mint, coriander, house-cured bacon and crispy garlic – a fantastic combination of textures) and Sai Ua and Namprik Noom (Chiang Mai sausage, spicy young pepper relish, pork cracklings, seasonal herbs and sticky rice – basically all my favorite flavors in one bite).
Some dishes draw inspiration from local ingredients, such as their Salmon Ceviche – but it was given a fun Thai spin with fresh mango, lemongrass and edible flowers.
Others stay true to the classic format, such as their Khao Soy Gai Curry Noodle Soup (a northern Thai curry noodle soup with a chicken drumstick, pickled mustard greens, shallots, a boiled egg, beansprouts and lime), the epitome of Asian comfort food. The broth was rich and creamy, and the noodles – a mix of tender rice noodles and crispy fried noodles – added a nice contrast in textures.
The drinks were the icing on the cake. Tamarind Hall has a full bar staffed by well-trained mixologists who work with native Thai ingredients like tamarind syrup, Singha beer and fresh mango. We ordered the Thai Collins (Bombay sapphire, lime, cucumber and palm sugar) and the SF to Bangkok (Skyy coconut-infused vodka, coconut juice and fresh coconut), and both were dangerously delicious.
So the next time you're craving craft cocktails alongside your green curry, you know where to go!
Tamarind Hall. 1268 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133.