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This lunch plate at Thai Garden includes orange chicken, brown rice and a pot sticker. Mail Tribune / Rebecca Scott

Thai Garden a hidden gem in Central Point

A trip to Central Point guarantees a genuine Thai food experience. Thai Garden offers humble flavors, good prices and reasonable portion sizes.

My mom and I stopped in for lunch; our first meal out in 2017. We were awed as we approached the building because windows make up the entire front wall of the restaurant, which lets in a flood of natural light.

The lunch options are clearly laid out on a one-page, front-and-back menu. Lunch items (with a few exceptions) are served with salad, one egg roll or pot sticker, steamed white or brown rice and a choice of chicken, pork, beef or tofu. Other options, such as seafood, can be added for an extra charge.

I chose the orange chicken lunch combination ($8.95) with brown rice and a pot sticker. My mom ordered Mongolian beef with carrots, mushrooms and green onions (also $8.95). She picked the brown rice and egg roll as her sides.

We each received a small salad to start our meal. At many restaurants, the salad feels like an afterthought, containing little or no flavor. At Thai Garden, the lettuce was fresh, crisp and cool. The salad was perfectly dressed in a homemade honey mustard dressing, which is a personal favorite of mine. The dressing at Thai Garden was the ultimate mix of sweet and tangy, with a smooth and glossy texture.

Lunch arrived shortly after we finished our salads. The plates weren’t enormous or piled to the brim with rice and meat, but our meals were artfully plated and beautiful in their simplicity. Seeing a well-portioned amount of food made it even more appetizing than receiving a massive mountain of food.

My mom’s Mongolian beef was well-prepared and gently tossed among accompanying vegetables. The meat was tender and had a spicy zing to it. My mom particularly enjoyed the mushrooms, which were full-bodied and meaty. The fried egg roll wasn't greasy and had a fresh vegetable filling.

I hadn’t eaten orange chicken in many years because it’s usually too heavy and dredged in a sticky orange sauce. I was happy with my meal. The chicken was fried, but the breading was light and kept the chicken moist. The orange sauce lightly coated the chicken and added fresh citrus notes, rather than tasting like orange goo. The pot sticker was the icing on the cake; fried to perfection with crispy edges and perfectly cooked interior.

The restaurant offers a plethora of Chinese and Thai items to eat in or take out for lunch and dinner. Thai Garden is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and closed Sundays. The restaurant is at 43 N. Third St. Call 541-727-7502.

 

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