Thai Palms Provides Authentic Excellence
By Becky Billingsley
One of the best Thai restaurants in the Grand Strand area opened in August 2010, and within its humble walls are culinary masterpieces.
Although the surroundings may be humble, it doesn’t mean Thai Palms Restaurant isn’t cozy. The former residence, which has been used by owner Pien Mims for several years as a tailoring and alterations business, has been remodeled into a respectable eatery.
Large marble-like tiles cover the floors, and the spotless space has several booths and a large linen-covered table perfect for large parties to enjoy a Thai feast. Tasteful framed Thai art is on the walls, and hand-painted palm trees enhance half the ceiling.
We started with two appetizers of Thai Shrimp Tempura and Chicken Satay.
The tempuras appetizer is excellent, with five large shrimp that are light and crispy outside and juicily plump inside. The sweet and sour sauce that came with them was extremely pleasant with mellow undertones.
Even better was the Satay. It comes with two sauces: one a richly extravagant peanut sauce of a pleasant consistency that would coat a spoon. It was the best peanut sauce I’ve ever had; it tasted of peanuts and nothing else.
The other sauce is a thin pink-purple tangy vinegar-base sauce with diced onion floating in it. It isn’t as fabulously delicious as the peanut sauce, but it’s tasty.
The grilled and skewered chicken we dipped in those two sauces was a nice bright yellow color from a curry coating. The amount of curry made our mouths tingle pleasantly, but it did not approach the “It’s too hot!” mark.
Other appetizers are Beef Spring Rolls, Vegetable Spring Rolls and Thai Fried Chicken, which is wings marinated in Thai garlic sauce.
Soups and salads are also available, and those choices are Papaya Salad, Beef Salad, Ground Beef Salad, Sour & Spicy Shrimp Soup and Chicken Coconut Soup.
I have visited Thai Palms twice, and loved my entrees both times: Thai Basil Chicken and Green Curry Chicken.
In the Thai Basil dish, chicken is stir-fried with fresh sweet basil, onions, Thai chili peppers and oyster sauce, and it’s served with white rice. You can order your dishes mild, medium or hot, and while I was glad we picked medium my dining companion said he could have taken a little more fire. The Thai chili peppers are tiny, and their heat is a creeping flame that sneaks up on you after a few bites.
I ordered the Green Curry Chicken as a carry-out dish, and the chicken filled one tall foam coffee cup to the 3/4 mark, while a second cup had a similar level of sticky white rice. It was a perfect portion.
Again I asked for a medium heat level, and was extremely happy with what Mims served. The green curry sauce was slightly thickened, but still runny enough to pleasantly saturate the rice.
Other entrees include Pad Thai, Thai Fried Rice, Pad Broccoli, Red Pork and Red Curry Chicken. For dessert there are Fried Banana, Fried Sweet Potato and Vanilla Ice Cream.
A lunch menu available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. offers four $6 choices: Pad Thai with 2 spring rolls; Thai fried Rice with 2 spring rolls; Pad Broccoli with rice; or Papaya Salad on lettuce with sticky rice.
Thai Palms does not serve alcoholic beverages, but I recommend their Thai Iced Tea. It has a mild and somehow creamy flavor, although there are no dairy products in it.
Thai Palms Restaurant is at 3803 Socastee Blvd., half a mile west of the intersection of U.S. 17 Bypass and S.C. 707. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays for dining in or carry-out. Take cash, because they do not accept cards, and if you are in a hurry it’s a good idea to call your order in before arriving. The number is 843-293-0483.