Modrý zub Restaurant

Modrý zub Restaurant

Brewsta dines at this new Národní třída location of the Thai restaurant

Modrý zub Restaurant

Modrý zub Restaurant

Brewsta dines at this new Národní třída location of the Thai restaurant

Published 14.04.2010
Last updated 21.04.2010

"It's déjà vu all over again." Yogi Berra

When I first went to the original Modrý zub Noodle Bar on Jindřišská near Wenceslas Square, I didn't think their Thai cooking was very good.

Over time, it got better and better. Now, I consider it my second favorite Thai spot after Noi.

When I heard a new, larger Modrý zub Restaurant opened on Spálená, near TESCO on Národní třída, I was quite pleased.

The nearby stop for tram 22 is one I spend a lot of time at.

However, the restaurant location, just up the road from the stop, was not auspicious for its previous tenants.

As Claire Compton noted in her concise review of Modrý zub Restaurant in The Prague Post, Gott Gallery Restaurant and City Café Cosmopolit couldn't make it work there.

As I walked up to the restaurant, I could see part of the problem.

That area is almost out of sight of the tram stop, it is surrounded by derelict, shuttered stores, and it doesn't get much foot traffic. What a difference 100 meters can make.

The bright red chairs and walls on the lower level certainly do catch the eye.

But I did not find it very inviting, especially because the manager and some of the staff were lounging in the otherwise empty space. Also, the tables are way too close together.

So I went upstairs to the much more attractive dining room.

The hardwood floors, couches, and comfortable chairs were much more welcoming. But I found the abundance of gray in the room rather unfortunate.

I started off with homemade, fresh ginger and mint lemonade (65 CZK). I liked it very much.

It was tart, and not too sweet. There were bits of fresh ginger floating in there, giving it a pleasant sharpness. The drink also had plenty of mint leaves.

Calling it lemonade, though, is a misnomer. It was made with lime. In fact, it tasted very much like a ginger mojito, which is also listed on the menu (120 CZK).

I decided to have a bowl of my favorite soup, Tom Kha Kai (85 CZK). I thought it was excellent.

The soup was quite spicy and had just the right amount of sweetness for my taste. I could taste the galangal, plenty of cilantro (coriander), and fish sauce. There were also some tomato chunks in there with decent shredded chicken.

For my main course, I had the dish I give a lot of weight to in judging a Thai restaurant. And that is the Phad Thai. I got it with chicken (185 CZK), but it is also available with shrimp (295 CZK) or tofu (165 CZK).

My verdict? Not good.

I found this Phad Thai to be bland and boring. There were occasional bursts of salty-sweet flavor from the fried tofu, but the noodles were just lightly salty. The earthy flavor of the sprouts stood far above them. The peanut and egg disappeared into the background. The chicken was overcooked and tough.

Fortunately, the waitress had put a dish of condiments on the table.

I added fish sauce to increase the savory factor, and yes, I also mixed in some sugar. I should have asked for fresh lime, as well, but I didn't think of it at the time.

I doctored it up to the point that it was reasonably acceptable. But I was still not happy with it. I've had way better versions at the Modrý zub Noodle Bar and at Noi.

The bill for this trip was 335 CZK. But since I was flying solo, I knew I had to return again.

I showed up at noon on a Saturday, and made my way straight up the stairs.

I was rather surprised to find the staff mopping the floors at this time of day. They told me I could eat downstairs or come back later. I walked around for 15 minutes, returned, and the floors were still wet, but they told me I could have a seat anyway.

This time, I ordered the Mu Yang or grilled pork neck served with "dried chilli sauce" (145 CZK).

The tender chunks of warm pork were lightly marinated. They weren't dry, but not exactly juicy, either. The sauce was quite basic -- a sweet, vinegary base, filled with dry chili flakes that gave it some serious heat.

The whole thing was simple, but I liked it. However, I also thought the price was way out of line. There was a paltry amount of pork on the puny plate. For that money, there should have been much more.

Service was really dragging on the second visit. Maybe they were still mopping up in the kitchen.

My starter took 25 minutes to arrive after my order. Also, I found the weird electronica music they played rather annoying. My main course came 45 minutes after my arrival. That's far too long, considering I was the only one in the restaurant.

My main course was the Panang Curry with Beef (210 CZK). It is served in a big, clay hotpot, and white rice is included on the side.

I spooned the curry over the rice and saw that it was very watery. The sauce did not sit on top of the rice. It mostly drained to the bottom of the plate.

It looked remarkably like the Tom Kha Gai soup, and tasted similar.

The main difference was the abundance of lime leave slivers, which I love. They dominated the flavor. The beef was on the tough and chewy side, but that seems to be the standard for almost any Thai beef dish in Prague.

If they had added some coconut cream to thicken up the sauce, I'd have raved about this dish. I still liked the flavor, but it could have been so much better.

The cost of this visit was 420 CZK. Overall, I found the food to be very average, with the exception of the Phad Thai, which was substandard.

I didn't feel either meal was a great value.

But I had similar negative views about the Modrý zub Noodle bar when it opened. And then it got better.

So if I return, I'm hoping for some better déjà vu.

Modrý Zub Restaurant
Spálená 29
Prague 1
Tel: (+420) 222 540 064

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aselya(Guest) Published: 03:56:53 27.07.2012
I just had a terrible experience in this restaurant, it seems that people that work there really hate their jobs. While the food is very average and highly priced , the staff is outrageously rude and arrogant! I will never go there again. If anyone feels like a proper thai in Prague, try cafe Bambus.
Morris (Guest) Published: 10:09:21 22.12.2011
The worst customer experience of my life, verbal abuse and intimidation! I went to this restaurant (on Spalena street )on Thurs the 22nd of December in the evening. I had been the previous day and the experience had been generally positive, especially the service. It was approx 6 pm and the restaurant upstairs was half-full. I was on my own and sat at one of the 4-seater tables near the window. There were no reservation signs on any of the tables. A male waiter approached me and rudely ordered me to move to the only one seater-table in the restaurant by the toilet by aggressively telling me you cant sit here. If he had included some element of manners and charm in his response I might have agreed and happily changed tables, but his manner was extremely impolite and brash and bad-tempered. As soon as I questioned him, he immediately became very aggressive and in front of all the dinners pointed to the door and shouted at me to get out. I asked to speak to the manager and he told me that he didnt care and that the manager was not working that night. He continued to aggressively order me to leave the restaurant in front of the other cunstomers who were as shocked and as uncomfortable as I was. He then told me to **** off. The other waiting staff looked on and seemed to find the whole incident amusing. As I was leaving, I tried to explain what had happened to one of the waitresses who went to the upstairs part of the restaurant to speak to the waiter. A few moments later, I was again confronted by the same waiter who held the door open and aggressively shouted at me to leave in front of the other customers, as if he owned the place. I have never been verbally insulted and physically intimidated in a restaurant before and this ranks as the most upsetting and unpleasant customer experiences of my life. Such a shame that an other-wise decent fast food restaurant is so badly let down by the appalling behavior, actions and attitude of one of its staff whose aggressive, abusive and intimidating behavior may be better suited for work as a night-club bouncer rather than a server in a restaurant. I own six apartments in the center of Prague which I rent to tourists and I would have taken one of their business cards to give to the some of the 100 s of guests I recommend restaurants to every year. I will not be returning ever again. I will instead warn my guests about dining here, as I dont want them to suffer the same shocking experience as me and have their evening ruined as well as their experience of Prague and Prague people tarnished.
Willy(Guest) Published: 06:22:58 23.10.2011
Contrary to popular belief Pad Thai is *not* a traditional Thai dish. It wasn't common until post WW2 times, while dishes like Tom Yum, Tom Kha and Som Tam have been around for centuries. Pad Thai is mostly tourist food. It's not that popular among Thais. Judging a Thai restaurant by their Pad Thai only indicates how "farang" friendly their food are.
Glen Stogel(Guest) Published: 10:09:19 05.08.2010
I do not know why people are risking this experience, when not far from there in Myslikova is an excellent place - Lemon Leaf.
KC(Guest) Published: 10:16:40 16.04.2010
Wow, Yancy, that's the best comment I've ever read on expats, well done. And great review!
Pivn Filosof(Guest) Published: 08:06:35 15.04.2010
"As I walked up to the restaurant, I could see part of the problem...." And the Heineken sign won't attract many people, either. Why? Why do restaurant owners fall prey of those pseudo-imported brands?
Miss Merlot(Guest) Published: 04:20:38 15.04.2010
Nice to see you back Brewsta!
Yancy(Guest) Published: 02:37:38 15.04.2010
Indigo: If the abundance of resturaunts and reviews in Prague drive the price per unit to $.005, than how cheap must snide 17 word remarks be?
gary clarke(Guest) Published: 09:41:55 15.04.2010
a pad thai should never be served without lime , it is the lime that brings the dish to life and the penang curry should be thick ,creamy , a little sweet and peanuty. does,nt look like good that food to me
Indigo(Guest) Published: 09:28:24 14.04.2010
...before Gott Gallery it was PlanetDVD. Restaurants are two a penny in Prague, alot like the reviews.