#42: Pla Song Kruang at Basil Spice Thai Cuisine


The pla song kruang at Basil Spice Thai Cuisine - IAN FROEB
  • Ian Froeb
  • The pla song kruang at Basil Spice Thai Cuisine
One of the challenges of reviewing a restaurant with a lengthy menu, as often happens at Thai, Vietnamese and Indian restaurants, is balancing the reader's curiosity about old favorites (curry, pho, etc.) with my desire to try dishes I've never eaten before.

Sometimes, to achieve this balance, I plan out in advance what I will order over multiple visits. Sometimes, I throw that plan out entirely -- I really don't want to have pad thai today -- and order with barely more consideration than if I'd shut my eyes and pointed at the menu. That was how I ended up trying pla song kruang at Basil Spice Thai Cuisine.

When I reviewed Basil Spice in 2008, a fried trout fillet was the base of this dish. It's now listed on the menu as basa, a type of catfish. This isn't an improvement -- the basa barely registers a flavor -- but the trout isn't what made me fall in love with this dish.

Indeed, pla song kruang might be best described as a salad that just happens to be served atop fried fish. The colorful jumble includes slivers of green apple, red onion and carrot as well as cilantro and whole cashews in a dressing of fresh lime juice spiked with a mild chile heat. (You can crank up that heat, if you like, though I don't think this dish needs it.)

The dressing is exceptionally tart, a smack to the palate, yet the dish as a whole maintains a lovely balance of sweet and sour, sharpness and savor.

Basil Spice Thai Cuisine
3183 South Grand Boulevard

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.


#43: Chori pollo at Mi Ranchito
#44: Pizza at La Pizza
#45: Fried chicken at Young's Restaurant & Ice Creamery
#46: The Philly Cheesesteak at 9th Street Deli
#47: Smoked chicken wings at Flavors BBQ Sports Bar & Grill
#48: Coffee and a pastry at 222 Artisan Bakery
#49: The torta ahogada at Taqueria Durango
#50: The "Morganford Mediterranean" Sandwich at Local Harvest Café & Catering

#51: Vegetable korma at Gokul Snacks & Sweets
#52: Schnitzel & spaetzle at Iron Barley
#53: Oxtail stew at De Palm Tree
#54: Pho at Pho Long
#55: Gyro at Anthonino's Taverna
#56: The Lemon Drop Cupcake at the Cup
#57: Pupusas at Tres Banderas
#58: Gumbo at the Gumbo Shop
#59: The burger at Newstead Tower Public House
#60: Quesadillas tradicionales at Milagro Modern Mexican

Previously (Continued):

#61: "7th Street Sicilian" Po' Boy at Blues City Deli
#62: Tamales at Taqueria la Pasadita
#63: Ćevapi at Bosna Gold
#64: Lemon meringue and pine nut torte at BitterSweet Bakery
#65: Chile Morita con Puerco at Señor Pique
#66: Soda chanh duong (sparkling lemonade) at Lemon Grass
#67: Nachos grande at Nachomama's
#68: Pizza with pepperoni, sausage and mushroom at Pizza-a-Go-Go
#69: Bill's "Burger Meister Burger" at Cardwell's at the Plaza
#70: Sake (salmon) nigiri sushi at Nobu's Japanese Restaurant

#71: Massaman curry at Simply Thai
#72: The lunch buffet at Mayuri
#73: Fried chicken (spicy) at Porter's Fried Chicken
#74: Arancini at Lorenzo's Trattoria
#75: Meat shawarma at The Vine Mediterranean Café & Market
#76: The South Side Smoke at sandwich at Stellina Pasta Café
#77: Falafel at Kabob House
#78: A slice with pepperoni at Feraro's Jersey-Style Pizza
#79: Birria at Pueblo Nuevo
#80: Banh mi dac biet at Phuc Loi

#81: Prosciutto bianca pizza at the Good Pie
#82: Gold Coast Chocolate ice cream at Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream
#83: Hot salami (salam de testa) at Gioia's Deli
#84: Veal parmesan sandwich at Biggie's
#85: Nachos (with jalapeños and extra cheese cup) at Busch Stadium
#86: Lobster bisque at Café Ventana
#87: Calamari fritti at Mangia Italiano
#88: Brisket sandwich at Winslow's Home
#89: Paletas at La Vallesana 2
#90: Spaghetti and meatballs at Sugo's Spaghetteria

#91: The Michael burger at Michael's Bar & Grill
#92: Fried egg and ham toastie at the Schlafly Tap Room
#93: Bavarian chips with Welsh rarebit at Dressel's
#94: Onion soup at Brasserie by Niche
#95: Baby-back ribs at 17th Street Bar & Grill
#96: Kingshighway burger at the Royale
#97: Gyro sandwich at South Grand Gyro Express
#98: Carne asada tacos at El Paisano (Watson Road)
#99: Pretzel bites at Joey B's on the Hill
#100: Hot and sour soup at Shu Feng Restaurant