When you descend into the bowels of an office building for a meal, expectations hardly soar. But what I found in the florescent glow of One City Center’s basement pleasantly lifted my spirits.

Wok Thai made to order at Siam Orchid

I popped off the escalator, strolled to the back corner and low and behold: no heat lamps. No scary buffet. Just a friendly guy and his wok.

Flipped over flames with crisp snap peas, my Fresh Ginger Chicken at Siam Orchid was (can you believe it?) fresh. Pleasantly spiced (at heat level 3) and plentiful, it was nicely cooked and easy goin’ down. Frankly – better than I expected and much better than your average mall fare.

The spring rolls on the other hand suffered from flavor-sapped fridge lettuce, cardboard carrots, soulless onions and not much else. Perky and peppery, an accompanying sweet and sour sauce shifted them from sad to palatable. With eight to an order, you can sure fill up on ‘em if need be. Not bad for $4.50, but not sure its a good idea. . .

A second trip confirmed the first. A Thai basil shrimp tossed with light oil in the wok – very tasty. A pre-made crab rangoon fried to a crisp and stuffed with gooey, crab-flavored paste – not so much.

If you’re downtown, in a rush and want a Thai fix – Siam Orchid fits the bill. Take your cash (no plastic allowed), and take my advice – skip the apps and order something hot from the wok.

Blogger’s Note: This post is the twelfth (just one more — I swear!) in a series of Thai restaurant reviews being conducted — and posted on the same day — by a group of Portland bloggers and writers. For other reviews, check out Portland Food Map.

Siam Orchid on Urbanspoon