Though western New York may not be the most ideal place to go to college, it certainly does not lack a choice of great and affordable restaurants. Being from Buffalo, I have grown up used to restaurants with great food, huge portions and very affordable prices. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that Rochester shared this western New York quality. Last Saturday before I ventured off to a concert at the Eastman Theatre, I visited the King and I Thai restaurant.When I first arrived and parked my friend’s 1987 Ford Taurus in a nearby business parking lot, I thought that the car looked nicer and more up kept than the restaurant. The parking lot was packed though, so I decided to go in. Upon stepping inside, I knew not to judge this book by its cover. The waiting area was small, but very nice with about six chairs and one very feisty hostess who seemed to have great control over her staff and even better customer service skills. She gave me a number and within about five minutes my table was ready, even though the place was extremely busy and there were many people ahead and behind me. The atmosphere was very professional, yet not uptight. While I was led to my table, I noticed that the dcor was very up to date and classy. The crystal chandeliers, modern artwork, white walls and tablecloths made me feel as though I was inside a nice banquet hall. I felt very comfortable in the company of the other patrons in the restaurant. They were all well-dressed, ranging from jeans and a nice sweater to suits and dresses. Many seemed as though they were dressed for the theater as well, while others may have been out for the evening, enjoying a nice meal.The service was excellent.Every server had a huge smile on his or her face and was working as hard as he or she could. This made the dining experience quite enjoyable.The bus boys, waiters, host and manager all put 100 percent into serving their customers. When the manager noticed that my water glass was empty, she scolded a bus boy who immediately ran over to my table and apologetically refilled my glass. This type of service is rare but very impressive.Now onto the most important part – the food. The menu is set up so that you can choose your entre by type of meat, spiciness and type of noodle. The meat choices included beef, chicken, shrimp, pork and duck and each could be prepared in any one of about 10 ways. According to the waiter, the spiciest way is called the “Evil Jungle Prince,” and it comes in a steaming pot and looked too hot for my gastrointestinal tract. For you vegetarians, vegetables could also be substituted and prepared in the same ways that the meats were. All meat and vegetable selections include a side of rice. Varieties of noodles are also available but are not included with the individual meat entres unless you order a combo dish from the back of the menu. Last, though the soups looked very delicious, I felt they were a bit overpriced, especially for a college student’s budget.The same can be said for the frozen fruit drinks and succulent desserts.I ordered the crispy yellow noodles with shrimp and a vegetable sesame roll. The food was quickly out of the kitchen within about seven minutes after I placed my order. It was hot and very well presented on nice dinnerware. I will be honest and say that I was not very impressed with my selection but that is simply because I am not very familiar with Thai cuisine and thus could not make a very informed decision as to what to order. The other plates that came out of the kitchen looked extremely delicious. The prices were not bad, with each entre costing about $8 to $11. A dinner for two ran about $22 plus tip. I would advise trying King and I with a friend who knows Thai cuisine. He or she can help you pick out dishes that satisfy whatever cravings you may be having.Gorski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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