First Bite: Tantalizing Thai
Walnut Creek’s Torsap Thai Kitchen takes the cuisine to new heights.
Perhaps third time’s the charm. The sleek space at Locust and Cypress Streets, whose glassy facade has showcased the retro restaurant Cypress and the ritzy gastropub Sunol Ridge, has found a new owner—Lalita Souksamlane, a Thai-born chef who was part of the San Francisco Osha Thai dynasty some 25 years ago. (The Osha—meaning delicious—restaurant group has since opened a half dozen Thai eateries in both the city and Bangkok, Thailand.)
Torsap’s all-day menu is upscale, with offerings both familiar and fantastic. A pork neck salad with green tomatoes sounds neither refined nor appealing but is both: Thin slices of meat, reminiscent of duck breast, are soaked in a powerful sweet and fish-saucy dressing, flecked with sesame, and presented with crisp produce. Lightning-hot clay pots of delicate sea bass suffused with lemongrass and braised lamb in a rich peanut curry with Thai basil are deeply nourishing. Stunningly presented rice paper rolls are expertly tight if otherwise ordinary.
The rice on our visit had a leftover quality, but the earnest, if rather businesslike, service was spot-on.
1388 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 433-2166, torsapthaikitchen.com. Lunch and dinner daily.