A few months ago I observed that we now have three Thai restaurants along Dorchester Avenue between Lower Mills and Fields Corner! The oldest of these closed briefly a few months ago and recently reopened under new management with a dramatically new name, changing from Kapow! to Kapow. I reviewed it in its old incarnation three years ago.

Barbara and I got takeout from Kapow last night. You will want to know how it has changed…and how it compares to the aforementioned other two local Thai restaurants, Thai Oishi and Just Thai Kitchen (JTK).

The quick answer is that Kapow has changed a little for the better, a little for the worse, but mostly not a whole lot either way. Their Tom Yum soup with shrimp was excellent—appropriately spicy and delicious, with a rather different flavor than JTK’s version but equally good. Crispy rolls were okay, but the wrappers were too thick (the common American failing in all too many east Asian restaurants). Scallion pancakes were fine. Yum nuea (a.k.a. beef salad) was delicious: very spicy, a bit oddly deconstructed, but I highly recommend it. In contrast, stir-fried broccoli with chicken, carrots, and mushrooms was a bit too bland—nothing wrong with it, but it could have used some spice. Pad Thai with shrimp was good, with larger shrimp than at JTK. Finally, tamarind duck with broccoli was flavorful, crispy, and altogether first-rate.

Needless to say, we had plenty of leftovers.

You want to know how it compares to Thai Oishi and JTK, right? We don’t yet have enough experience to judge Thai Oishi, especially since the one meal we had there was more Japanese than Thai, but we can say that JTK wins on points. Actually, the right thing is to order certain dishes from JTK and certain other ones from Kapow, but that’s a bit more complicated than I want to deal with at this point.

Categories: Dorchester/Boston, Food & Restaurants