Across from the Farmers' Market in Shockoe Bottom, Alex's Thai Cuisine has the feel of a diner: A counter with stools greets you as you walk in, and several formica-topped booths sit along the opposite wall.
My friend and I started with the garden rolls. They were generous in size and stuffed with long shreds of carrots, sprigs of cilantro, cucumber and rice noodles. We both enjoyed the rich, thick peanut sauce for dipping.
We then moved on to sharing a red curry with shrimp. My initial bite was sweet with coconut milk, and then there was a nice finish of heat at the back of my throat. Plump shrimp swam happily in the sauce, along with carrots, basil, bamboo shoots and red bell peppers. The curry was not overly hot, which was fine with me, but the menu does note that they will make any of their entrées "as spicy as you like."
We also tried the chicken pad thai. It was the traditional plate of noodles, chicken, green onions and bean sprouts, topped with chopped peanuts. The sauce was mixed in with a light hand, allowing the flavor of each ingredient in the dish to come through.
The portion size was more modest than you'll find at some other Thai restaurants, so we left feeling well fed but not stuffed. Alex's Thai is a terrific spot for good Thai food at a reasonable price, seven days a week.
Alex's Thai Cuisine
13 N. 17th St., 343-3934
Appetizers $2.95 to $7.95. Soups and salads $3.95 to $10.95. Entrées $8.45 to $10.95.
Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.