In the hotbed of food culture known as Palm Desert, California, we went off to dinner with my aunt and uncle, who were craving some Thai food. After some extensive searching using the newfangled interwebs, we found a place called Le Basil. Rather than being confined to Thai food, Le Basil expanded to another area of Southeast Asia and integrated Vietnamese food into their menu. Although this only covered 2 of the 11 sovereign nations of Southeast Asia, it was enough for Le Basil’s menu to claim Southeast Asian cuisine (come on, where’s the balut?).
Although I adhere strongly to my unvegan ideals, for the sake of togetherness and trying multiple things, I am sometimes willing to allow vegetables to make contact with my food. Le Basil was one of these places as my girlfriend and I decided to split two dishes. One of these was called the Le Basil Beef Massaman Curry (14.95) and the other was Pad See You (12.95). The curry was made with coconut milk, tamarind, potatoes, onions and roasted peanuts and although I would have ordered without onions, I knew they were necessary to keep said girlfriend happy. As for the Pad See You, this rice noodle dish was stir-fried with meat, egg, broccoli and a sweet soy sauce. We chose chicken as our meat and once again I would have ordered without broccoli, but opted not to for the sake of girlfriend happiness.
The noodles came out first and aside from the broccoli looked awesome. Fortunately the broccoli was in huge, gas-inducing stalks that were easy to avoid. The noodles themselves were deliciously wide and thin, yet easy to pick up for eating. I am no expert on Pad See You, so I am not exactly qualified to compare those of Le Basil to any others, but I found them to be damn good. The sweet soy sauce melded perfectly with the egg and chicken to create a unique blend of flavors that is definitely a nice break from the more typical Pad Thai.
As for the Massaman Curry, I was disturbed to find that in addition to onions, Le Basil had managed to sneak some red pepper into the curry. But once again, I saw that both the pepper and onions were easily avoided. Have I ever mentioned how awesome coconut milk is? I’m not sure that I have, but really it is awesome. I have yet to find a dish that coconut milk degrades. I’m pretty sure I would eat it on a burger if I could find a place to serve it. With the Massaman Curry, it was no different. The coconut milk provided a delicious balance to the spicy curry and made the cubes of beef taste just great. And of course, the peanuts were a nice touch.
Le Basil was a great little “Southeast Asian” restaurant in Palm Desert that I would definitely head back to. My only issue (had I been paying) would have been the price. In the grand scheme of food, 13-15 bucks isn’t a ton of money for a plate, but some of the best Thai food I’ve eaten has cost me less than 10 bucks. Again, it is a small complaint, because you don’t exactly expect good ethnic food in the desert of palm, but a complaint nonetheless. Either way, it is some good food and worth checking out for any lover of noodles or curry who happens to find their self in Palm Desert.