The panang curry pizza (?) at Thai Pizza Co.
I last visited Thai Pizza Co. (608 Eastgate Avenue; 314-862-4429)
five or maybe six years ago -- before I was the RFT
's restaurant critic. Though the restaurant is located right down the street from Gut Check International Headquarters, I rarely think to go there now. When I first ate there, it struck me as a gimmick -- not a bad gimmick, necessarily, but not one that appealed to me. As much as I love both pizza and Thai food, the two of them together didn't do much for me.
Still, Thai Pizza Co. has plugged along for the better part of a decade now, one of the four Thai restaurants in the Delmar Loop that share the same owner, and on a recent afternoon I stopped in to see whether I could find something to appreciate in the combination of pizza and curry.
Pizzas are available as thin- or thick-crust. I ordered the panang curry pizza with a thin crust. I received the panang curry pizza on a thick crust -- though, frankly, it very well could have been something else entirely. Any resemblance to an actual panang curry was entirely coincidental.
The toppings were ground chicken, bell peppers, mushroom and onion, all spread under a layer of melted mozzarella. The menu also includes hot peppers and lime leaves as ingredients, but I found no evidence of either. In truth, aside from a faint coconut-milk sweetness, the flavors bear few hallmarks of Thai cuisine.
The crust reminded me of one of those oven-rising frozen pizzas, weirdly springy and generically flavored. The mozzarella is, well, mozzarella, and there is a reason authentic Thai curries aren't smothered in it.
You could tweak this recipe so that the Thai flavors are more prominent, I suppose, but to my taste, at least, the pizza-ness of a Thai pizza is what renders it pointless. If I want Thai curry, I'll order a Thai curry. At its heart, this pizza is one more example of why fusion cuisine -- or, more precisely, its many bastard children -- has become such a joke.