Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Food Review: Thai Orchid restaurant boasts authentic flavor

Pud Thai, Thai Orchid in Citrus Heights
An order of Pud Thai, from the Thai Orchid restaurant in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

Review by Nadezhda Chayka Otterstad–
If you’re in search of home-cooked Thai flavor in Citrus Heights, you likely won’t get more fresh and authentic than Thai Orchid.

The relatively new restaurant is a small, family owned cuisine located in the FoodMaxx shopping center on Sunrise Boulevard, between Sally’s Beauty Supply and a vacant commercial space. Although the view from outside is rather plain, once inside, guests are greeted by traditional Thai décor and beautiful warm hearth colors.

On a typical weekend, the owner can be seen busily greeting and seating guests, taking orders, and balancing trays of sizzling hot food. His wife is also the sole cook of all the dishes prepared at the restaurant – which promises consistent taste and quality in the food, but also results in a bit slow service at times.

Seating was limited on a recent Saturday evening, as my husband and I made our way to a table in the busy restaurant. A full house is typically a good sign that the food is above par, but it also wasn’t a surprise that our food arrived more than 30 minutes after ordering.

Our meal began with an appetizer sampler platter, offering an array of sizeable deep fried vegetables, calamari and shrimp tempura, as well as some heavenly rangoons — a great way to get a taste of several selections. The platter also came with three sauces, each offering a distinct sweet flavor.

[follow text=”Follow us:”]

Soon after finishing our appetizers, a sizzling cast iron skillet arrived, still spitting and hissing from the heat. The skillet had thin cuts of beef surrounded by a puddle of perfectly seasoned yellow curry sauce, garlic, cucumber, grated carrots, and cooked spinach leaves. Although the platter didn’t look the most appealing at first, the flavor made up for any lack – especially with the house blend of peanut sauce. The serving size was sufficient, and for those not particularly favoring spicy foods, this mild dish won’t disappoint. Duck curry is also a great pick for those eager to try a chewy meat option not often seen on menus.

Dessert choices are limited to only a few selections, but definitely worth a try. My choice of “coconut milk rice” featured white rice doused in sweet coconut milk, with a mango on the side. A nice ending to a delicious meal.

On weekdays around lunchtime our food arrived much more quickly, and a well-rounded lunch with soup and a main dish runs about $10 per person. The lunch menu had a wide selection of choices, ranging from Thai wraps to salads, with most options coming with soup and a curry pop (a deep fried wonton pocket of sweet potatoes cooked in yellow curry, which gives it a sweet flavor).

An order of Num Sod arrived with my meat choice of ground chicken mixed with cilantro, lime, red onion, scallions, fresh ginger, and a large chunk of fresh cabbage for picking up the chicken pieces. A beautifully presented order, with a unique — but slightly overpowering — gingery flavor. As a caution, the medium spice level I requested turned out to be a little too hot, even though my pallet typically enjoys some spice.

[Also on The Sentinel: “REVIEW: Extreme Hummus brings Mediterranean flavor to Citrus Heights“]

Spice level options between “1” and “10” are listed on the menu, with a “10” appropriately described as “beyond your imagination.” First-time guests may wish to go a bit easy on the spice, before attempting anything close to a 10.

Our second selection of Pud Thai arrived with a decent-sized portion of stir-fried noodles, shrimp, chicken, and egg, all mixed with a creamy peanut sauce and bean sprouts on the side. The dish also comes with a curry pop on the side, which in my mind has enough sweetness to count as a nice dessert to round off the lunch.

Overall, Thai Orchid earns a 4 out of 5 rating, with a perfection of authentic flavor, wide selection of menu options, and beautiful décor inside. For those willing to wait, this little gem in Citrus Heights is definitely worth visiting.

Thai Orchid location and hours:
6974 Sunrise Blvd.
Citrus Heights, Ca.
Tues-Thurs: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 9 p.m.
Closed Mondays.

Star explanation:
Five stars: (Extraordinary) Perfect in every way. A one-of-a-kind experience that sets the local standard.
Four stars: (Excellent) Memorable, high-quality food; distinct environment; good service; smart concept. Could use slight improvement in some areas.
Three stars: (Good) Solid example of restaurant type. Several dishes could be worth recommending, but many are just average.
Two stars: (Fair) Just OK. A place not worth rushing back to.
One star: (Poor) Below-average restaurants.

*The Sentinel’s policy is to not receive any compensation by businesses for our reviews, nor accept any offers for free menu items. [/box]

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)