Dining Out: Thai Orchid makes delectable changes

Relocated restaurant offers sushi, retains high level of quality

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Why: For 15 years, Thai Orchid has been bringing the flavors of Thailand to Clark County. The family owned and operated restaurant recently opened in its fabulous new location that includes a sushi bar — further expanding menu options. So, whether it be Pad Thai or a Spider Roll that suits your appetite, Thai Orchid can satisfy either.

Atmosphere: The building that formerly housed Koplan's Furniture has been transformed into a stylish and inviting restaurant space. Similar to many newly designed restaurants, industrial elements such as galvanized pipe, stained concrete floors, exposed ducts, and varied surfaces, from brick to rough-cut wood, have been combined with more refined elements.

Seating consists of booths, tables and chairs, and a handful of bar seats at the sushi bar. Limited outdoor dining is available as well. Large plate glass windows allow an ample amount of natural light in for daytime dining. Various types of pendant lighting provide a more subdued glow for evening hours.

What I tried: I tried the Chef's Choices, which includes nine sashimi items, and the Sushi Combo, which includes seven items. I also tried the Volcano Salad, Chasing Dragon, Eskimo Box, Sea of Love and the Mango Delight. To drink, my companion and I had Thai Iced Coffee.

Each selection was expertly prepared and beautifully presented. Flavors were fresh and many of the items were topped with tobiko, which added more character to the smooth, compliant texture of the sashimi. Both combo plates included an array of diverse items that represented the menu's delicacies. I would recommend these for the novice.

My personal favorites were some of the combo plate items, as well as the Chasing Dragon, made with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, crab, cucumber, avocado, and topped with black tobiko. I also enjoyed the unique dessert quality of the Mango Delight, which combines cucumber, cream cheese, and avocado in a mango wrap.

The Volcano Salad would be a good choice for a light lunch appetite. It didn't precisely match the menu's description, but it was appetizing. A mix of noodles and imitation crab is tossed in a spicy mayonnaise sauce and set atop thinly shredded lettuce. A portion of masago tops off the salad and the dish is then garnished with sprouts, lemon slices and red cabbage.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Edamame, from the appetizers, offers a simple start to a more complex sushi experience. The Changmai, made with spicy tuna, eel, avocado and cream cheese, then deep-fried and served with eel sauce, sounded like a flavorful option. From the Veggi Maki selections, the Coconut Gaga, made of mango, avocado, and cream cheese wrapped in coconut, sounded appetizing. Among the more complex selections is the Hurricane, which combines an unusual mix of ingredients; avocado, cucumber, crab, green onion, cream cheese, wasabi, seared tuna, spicy mayo, and sweet sauce.

Other observations: The wait staff's general attitude was friendly and professional, though a bit lacking in attentiveness. After being seated, my dining companion and I waited for 10 minutes before we were tended to, drink replenishments were not offered, and water was not kept refilled.

Thai Orchid caters and is available for private party bookings.

Items on the Thai menu may be prepared vegan as well as gluten free, and there are options for level of spiciness.

Cost: Appetizers are $4 to $23. Sashimi slices cost $8 to $17. Soup is $2. Salads range from $4.50 to $7.50. Nikiri (by the pair) is $3.50 to $9. Sushi combos are $18 for 7 items and $21 for 9 items. Sushi rolls cost $5.50 to $7.50. House specials are $11.50 to $13 and Veggie Maki selections are $4.50 to $8.

Thai menu items may be prepared with tofu, vegetables, beef, chicken, or pork for less than $10, or with shrimp, squid, or seafood for up to $16.50. Appetizers start at $4.50 and top out at $10.50.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

Telephone: 360-695-7786

Address: 312 W. 11th St.

Website:http://thaiorchidvancouver.com

Health Score: Thai Orchid received a preopening inspection and is scheduled to receive a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.