When Kasia came to visit me in Boston for the first time four years ago we stumbled upon Chili Duck in Back Bay and had a really delicious Thai meal. With her being back in town this week along with her boyfriend, we decided we'd give it another try and go for dinner.
The interior is similar to most of the Thai places I've been to - rather dark lighting, colorful walls, and somewhat awkward additional decor- in this case christmas-esque lights around the ceiling border. We were seated immediately in a candlelit booth and presented with our menus. The menu is quite extensive -not quite Brown Sugar cafe, but a lot more than Bangkok Bistro, with different types of rice, noodles, and curries dominating one's options. One appetizer item that caught my eye was the 'golden bags' - ground chicken, onion and corn deep-fried in wonton wrapper with thai sweet dipping sauce. The picture on the menu looked fun and cute, so we gave it a try. It was nice and fresh and crunchy, though the filling tended to spill everywhere if you weren't careful. The dipping sauce was a standard sweet chili sauce - good, but nothing special.
After agonizing over the menu for some 15 minutes I finally decided I would just stick to something I know I love and thereby be able to get a better idea of how it compares to other restaurants. I chose the Pad See Iew -Stir-fried flat rice noodle with broccoli and egg in a dark sweet soy sauce. Since were after all at Chili Duck, I thought I'd order duck as my accompanying meat. Shortly after my meal came on a nice colorful plate with ample pieces of duck, skin included, throughout. While everything was delicious, I must say that I have had a better Pad See Iew. I did find it a bit annoying to have to cut off the layer of fat/skin from every piece of meat, but at least it made it that much more flavorful.
Kasia had a similar problem in choosing her dish, and ended up with the crispy version of Pad Thai - Crispy egg noodle stir-fried with chicken and shrimp, egg, bean sprouts and scallions topped with ground peanuts. It was an excellent example of the dish, something I think we take for granted as always having to be stellar considering it is the "standard" Thai dish.
Ben was the only one of us to step outside the box and order something he had never seen before, the 'Fisherman Hot Dream' - Tempura style shrimp, scallop, squid and mussel topped with house sweet chilli sauce and served with white rice. I must say I was quite amused by the name and was excited to see what the dish would be like. There ended up being plenty of seafood, which was great, and the sweet chili sauce added a great additional flavor to every bite. My only complaint is that the seafood wasn't overly crispy, something I would have expected since it was described as coming "tempura style". Perhaps serving the sauce on the side would alleviate this problem, as the breading then wouldn't become soggy so quickly.
All in all we had a very reasonable, comfortable, and tasty meal with excellent service by the wait staff. While not my all-time favorite Thai place, I would recommend giving it a try if you're in Back Bay and craving some Thai.