A few weeks ago, I went to a Thai restaurant on one of the back streets of downtown called Monsoon. And today, I would like to share my experience with you… in case you ever want to go there.
Monsoon is located two blocks away from Charlottesville’s downtown mall in an old residential area with bumpy roads and nonexistent parking spots. If you didn’t know better, you might assume the restaurant was either a broken down house that belonged to an elderly cat lady or the backdrop to Hollywood’s latest Halloween blockbuster. With its rickety exterior and shabby looking front door, it looked like Monsoon had been closed for years. To my surprise, it was still open and running. We were seated as soon as we stepped in.
Monsoon should really consider its marketing strategy and change its name to ‘Curry House’ or ‘Curry World’ because other than 5 measly entrée selections, their whole menu was covered by the different types of curry they sold. Red curry, green curry, yellow curry, Panang curry, Muslim Mussamun curry… Monsoon offered 7 different types of curry combinations. Seven! The chef probably felt a little creative one day and decided to mix everything together and sell it to innocent unassuming customers.One thing I have learned at Monsoon is that when they name anything, say for example, “licking the sun” when you order a 5; take it as their literal translation. I made the unfortunate decision of picking the hottest version of a dish called Evil Prince Jungle Curry. I chose it partially because it didn’t contain coconut milk like the rest of the dishes, because I’m not a big fan of coconut, and also because of its name. Big mistake.
This dish understated itself. It isn’t the prince; it’s the king of spice-land. Perhaps it was the lack of coconut milk to cover that fire bomb, but the taste of the tongue-burning curry and gritty, unwashed vegetables completely masked any of the other flavors it was supposed to have. I sat there in tears trying to finish my ‘food’ as the waitress handed me my sixth serving of rice to subdue the taste.
My Evil Prince Jungle Curry was possibly one of the spiciest dishes I have ever consumed. No scratch that. It was not a dish. It was literally a piece of the sun. I couldn’t taste any of their sauce or basil because I was quickly trying to rescue my mouth from the fire that in which I had just deposited. The spices completely overwhelmed any other taste that could have possibly been in there. Fortunately, they served unlimited free rice with their meal so in result, I asked for about five or six helpings of rice while I slowly tried to finish my food.
I ended up packing my meal and taking it home with me because there was so much left over and didn’t want to seem rude to the friendly waitress that constantly served me ice water and rice. But as soon as I got home, I reached for the fridge and said hello to a nice bowl of pain-relieving milk and cereal.
Other than Monsoon’s friendly service, my dining experience was not as satisfying as I hoped, but then again, everyone’s taste is different. One good thing did come from this meal though—next time I want to pull a good prank, I’ll know where to go.