A tiny oasis of Thai cuisine, atmosphere and hospitality, Thai House Restaurant, with its rough-hewn wood lattice patio tucked right next door to Las Casuelas Terraza, is easy to miss.
But once discovered, this intimate downtown Palm Springs restaurant with authentic Thai dishes will be hard to forget.
Under new ownership, Nisa Hennecke took over the business last summer when the original owners retired. Her family had a restaurant business in Thailand, but this is her first venture in the United States.
Family is still part of the mix as her sister and brother-in-law, Achara and Raksak Khamphiangwichit (pictured below to Nisa's right) , are the creative cooks in the kitchen while Nisa often serves guests herself.
New Authentic Menu
She filled the menu with a variety of Thai and Asian favorites using the freshest ingredients.
“I make all of my dishes for my customers like I would for my family,” she says. “They have to be fresh and they have to taste good. I am also in the works of creating a one-of-a-kind dish that I will unveil soon.”
Nisa said customers rave about her Pad Thai, a classic Thai dish created with rice noodles stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, eggs, bean sprouts and green onions. Crushed peanuts on the side may be incorporated for a crunchy texture and earthy taste.
Thai cuisine is also known for its curries, and Thai House offers a colorful selection, prepared to customer’s level of spiciness, from 1 to 4.
We tried the yellow chicken curry, which had a deeply fragrant rich sauce that held generous bites of fresh steamed chicken, potatoes and carrots. The curry arrived in a bowl with a mound of steamed rice on which to spoon the saucy meal.
Green, red, pineapple, Panang and Siam gulf are other luscious coconut milk-based curry dishes offered at Thai House, each with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or tofu. Traditional ingredients can include chili paste, sweet basil, bamboo shoots and a variety of fresh vegetables.
We also tried the Tom Yum soup, another Thai classic, that is a savory hot and sour broth soup flavored with kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, and lime juice with plump little mushrooms, chunks of chicken, slivers of green onions and topped with cilantro.
Even Thai House’s small side salad is a fresh, crispy dish of iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges, cucumbers and carrots with a light, peanut sauce dressing. But there are more than a half dozen interesting salads like the Yum Woon Sen with chicken and glass noodles, onion, lime juice, chili paste and cilantro on a bed of lettuce.
Many of the dishes are vegan and gluten free.
Thai House Restaurant, 246 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. Hours: Daily 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. lunch; 5 to 10 p.m., dinner. (760) 778-1728