Discovering Thai in Japantown

I happened to find Jitlada on Yelp while trying to find a restaurant in Japantown. I was curious, because I had eaten at Jitlada in Los Angeles and thought that maybe there were connected but it doesn’t look like it. The reviews were pretty positive on Yelp, so Pdho and I decided to check it out. Pdho worked out earlier in the day so instead of showing his typical restraint he wanted to order everything under the sun acknowledging we could take home the leftovers.

Evil Princess Curry
Evil Princess Curry

The Evil Princess Curry sounded eerily intriguing. It’s a spicy red curry with coconut milk, napa cabbage, spinach, and we decided to order it with tofu. This was very tasty and represented a delightful depth of flavors unlike any I’ve ever found in the best green or yellow curry. Putting the name aside, I would dare say it was the most sinfully delicious dish of the meal.

Roast Duck
Roast Duck

Admittedly, when I saw the Roast Duck, I was immediately reminded of the Honey Duck from Osha Thai. Unfortunately, this inappropriately set my expectations high, so although the roast duck wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as I had wanted it to be. I wouldn’t fault the seasoning of the duck, and the soy sauce was actually quite nice. My criticism really lies more with the duck meat which didn’t seem to be of the highest quality but I still liked it.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai

The Pad Thai with chicken turned out to be one of the better pad thai’s I’ve ever had. It is one of those dishes that tends to be very inconsistently prepared. Sometimes it is on the sweeter side and other times it’s much tangier tasting, or it can be very saucy or sometimes utterly dry. Unlike Pad See Ew which pretty much tastes the same each time, it really feels like a crap shoot when you order Pad Thai. This Pad Thai had the right combination of sugar, tamarind and fish sauce resulting in a scrumptious dish that was a clear home run in my book.

Mango with Black Sticky Rice
Mango with Black Sticky Rice

The Mango with Black Sticky Rice seemed like a familiar but new friend. The Black Sticky Rice was nutty and savory, unlike any other version of this dessert I’ve had in the past. The contrast with the subtle sweetness of the mangos was more notable and really helped to end the meal quite nicely.

These were definitely the highlights of the meal, and although none of the dishes were bad, I probably wouldn’t order the remaining two dishes.

Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai

The Tom Kha Gai soup tasted fine, but it somehow lacked depth making it taste quite plain.

Crying Tiger Salad
Crying Tiger Salad

The Crying Tiger Salad suffered mostly from the beef being overcooked and ultimately tasting very dry. The flavors were actually fine, but I think they might have underestimated the beef being cooked even further by the acidity in the marinade.

Overall, the prices and portions were reasonable, and most of the dishes were very delicious. The restaurant is actually quite small, but given the neighborhood, I imagine they do a lot of take out. This restaurant probably doesn’t garner a lot of attention like Lers Ros and Osha Thai, but I think if you’re looking for good low key Thai food, this would be a good choice.

1826 Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA 94115

PAFO Ratings for Jitlada:
Price $$½
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars

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