I don't typically expect much from Brandon eateries, which is why I mostly prefer to drive to almost any outlying geographical area to dine...but sometimes one develops an itch that requires an instant gratification kinda scratch. Having been inexplicably jonesing for Pad Thai all last weekend and, being the Sunday homebody that I am, I was cursing the very thought of venturing too far from home to find a decent rendition...plus, UD was only willing to tear himself away from NFL, his man-cave and his big screen for a veryminute period of time. East Hillsborough had to be the source. I know. My first thought was "just kill me now".
Some online research led us straight to Jasmine Thai, a zen little oasis incongruously tucked away in a strip mall on Lumsden Blvd. Its sleek, serene interior pleasantly belies its somewhat unfortunate locale.
Our server was professional and efficient while projecting a pleasingly tranquil aura. We started with a couple of apps, the first being Eggplant Tempura with sweet soy sauce. The thick, tender slabs of eggplant were ethereally lightly breaded and served at straight-from-hell (or the fryer) heat. I like that. Simple, straightforward, hot and delicious.
Thai Spring Rolls were also of high quality. Wrapped in rice paper and stuffed with shrimp, ground pork, carrot, onions, clear noodles and scallions, these crunchy and nicely-homogeneous wonders were off the chain...so protein-packed, I was almost oblivious to the fact that those pesky veggies were even present. A spicy orange dipping sauce served to both cool and pleasingly accent this delightful offering.
My beloved neanderthal almost curbed his haste to return to Bigass TV and Lazyboy Nirvana when he beheld his Panang Curry Crispy Duck. The duck indeed had a crispy exterior while maintaining a juicy and succulent interior. Its spicy coconut, veggie and peanut sauce was the perfect foil for said fowl and left a pleasing bead of moisture on our upper lips.
At long last, I was able to do a face-plant into my desperately-desired Shrimp Pad Thai. It was sweet, it burned, it had crunch factor, and the toothsome and perfectly cooked rice noodles left my taste buds virtually sighing with contentment. And how can a little carrot butterfly not make anyone smile?
Quality is good here, but it comes with a justifiable price tag. It was easy to spend over $75 before gratuity with two glasses of house chardonnay for me and two beers for my better half coupled with the four dishes reflected above. On an ordinary day, I don't crave Thai food THAT hard for Jasmine's price point.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.