For some reason drunken noodles always sound like the right choice.
2907 Shelter Island Drive #110, San Diego
Google describes Supannee House of Thai as a “No-frills Thai restaurant,” and having driven past the ho-hum storefront several times without going in, I assumed this was accurate. Sharing a drab shopping center lot with businesses such as Postal Annex and Subway doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
Walking inside instantly changed my mind. It wasn’t like stepping through the back of a wardrobe closet into a magical world, but the spacious, airy, and tastefully decorated dining room is much more than the pale blue siding of the shopping center’s exterior suggests. A high, woven bamboo ceiling, twine-ensconced Edison bulb chandeliers, and a pebbled mosaic wall give the place a modern yet natural vibe, aided by copious light entering through dozens of large windows.
Supannee House of Thai, not much to look at from the outside
The inside is nicer and surprisingly spacious.
Of course when I got to the menu I immediately drifted to the lunch combos on the back page and felt a familiar hankering for drunken noodles, aka pad kee moa. I didn’t put much thought into it. Broccoli, Chinese broccoli, carrots, and red peppers over wide rice noodles topped by a spicy soy sauce blend of chili paste and garlic with a side of salad, egg roll, and watermelon for $9.50 with chicken.
That’s where my head goes when I think Thai food, and I have no regrets. The sauce was killer, and the vegetables were lightly stir fried for an al dente freshness. However, based on what I learned after chatting with other customers and the service staff, I could have ordered better.
First off, the vegetables were grown locally. Specifically, they were grown by the proprietors, Supannee and Alec House. Ordering the chicken was fine, but ordering it with more vegetables might have been a special treat.
But more egregiously I failed to realize where I was: Point Loma. Supannee offers a plethora of seafood specialties, serving fish caught each morning by local fishing boats. Pretty much every other place I eat this close to Shelter Island brings me in with the promise of fresh seafood. I could have tried the coconut seafood curry, choo chi salmon (made with red curry paste), or spicy squid.
Speaking of the spicy squid, Google did recommend that. Which begs the question — what sort of algorithm does it take to recognize that spicy squid contradicts the “no frills” designation?
Supannee has been recommended to me several times over the past year, and my biggest mistake was ignoring word of mouth in favor of drab exterior and web searches. This place just took over as my number-one Thai option.