I'm always on the hunt for Pad See Ew that meets up to my standards (aka Bangkok Bay's take on this delectable noodle dish), which basically sets me up for failure at any Thai restaurant. After visiting Plumeria in North Park, I've realized I need to give up on finding Pad See Ew that rivals my favorite one. I've been hearing fellow vegans and vegetarians rave about this entirely meat-free cafe on Park Blvd., so I stopped in with my dad for an early lunch but didn't fall in love.
The menu is diverse and features plant-based takes on dishes I've always wanted to try but never could because of the meat and dairy in them. We started off our meal with an order of the Flower Cups. Crispy flower-shaped shells are stuffed with curry potatoes, tofu, peas, peppers, and cilantro. A cool, crisp, sweet cucumber "salad" is served on the side and meant to top each cup. I really enjoyed this appetizer but felt it could have benefitted from a little more flavor (an extra pinch of salt or a bit of chili pepper, maybe?). I'd give this appetizer a 7/10--it was tasty, but nothing to write home about.
I ordered a glass of their Taro tea, iced, with soy milk. When our waiter brought it out while we were enjoying our appetizers, I was stunned! It was served in a tall 50s diner style glass and was a beautiful purple and white ombre color (is it weird to call a drink "ombre"? lol!). Luckily, it tasted as good as it looked. Creamy and rich, it's enough to fill you up before your meal, so be careful and don't drink it too fast!
As an entree, I tried their version of Pad See Ew with mock chicken. Honestly, this was just bland. The noodles were a little dry and lacked flavor, even when I doused them in some plum sauce. The chicken was a bit chewy and made my stomach feel weird. I was generally just pretty unimpressed with this dish. I also tasted a bite of my dad's Spicy Garlic noodles and felt it tasted just like a spoonful of crushed red chili peppers. His meal lacked any depth of flavor--it was a pretty one-noted spiciness throughout. I realize that I hold Pad See Ew up to a really high standard, though, and will likely be underwhelmed by any version of it that isn't Bangkok Bay's.
Last but not least, we sampled the Mango with Sticky Rice for dessert. The rice was soft and warm with just the right amount of sweetness. The mango was fresh and juicy. I found myself just wanting to take pure bites of mango because they were so perfect! Good dessert, but nothing special.
Overall, I was pretty unimpressed with my lunch at Plumeria. I love that the menu is almost entirely plant-based and appreciate their commitment to vegan and vegetarian friendly fare, but the food lacks that special something. I would try Plumeria again, but only if I was in the area (which I rarely am). If you're still in the mood for some veggie Thai food, avoid their noodles and opt for a salad or curry instead. And don't forget to order the Taro Iced Tea...it was delicious!
4661 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92116