The thing about Thai House Express on Larkin isn’t that the prices are too high or that the food is bad (it’s often good), or even that their website has music on autoplay. It’s the fact the service has to be the absolute worst of any Thai restaurant in the city (or of any restaurant in general). It’s like they went out of their way to employ angsty skinny jeans-wearing art students who are working there in order to create some kind on conceptual piece as to how much crap you can shovel at a customer before they kill you with a chair.
My placement of THE on the X-List is well documented in two misadventures there that have led me to never go back. One incident was going there for a quick meal with evarels when we showed up as two. There was an empty table in the back which was a four person table. A group of three showed up two minutes after us and despite the fact there was no one else to seat, they chose to seat the group of three first. When we pointed out that we had arrived first, the server just ignored us. This put them on my do-not-eat-at list for quite some time as it was just so blatantly on our faces, I couldn’t really forgive it.
Some time later, on a quiet week day, I went there as part of a party of five. Once we had ordered, we noticed down on the menu that they charge a mandatory 20% gratuity on parties of 5 or more. Typically this is done to parties of 6 or more and it’s done at much swankier places than a basic Thai spot in the Loin. And 20%? WTF? 15-18% sure as that’s how it’s done in SF, but 20% is a bit excessive for a cheap restaurant.
Anyways, we ate a rather lackluster meal and they brought the bill which we then divided amongst the five of us with the exception of 17 cents in change that we didn’t think we had (they only accept cash) and hoped wouldn’t be a big deal. The server picked up the bill and the money and we commented that a mandatory 20% gratuity for a party of five was pretty steep. He just shrugged in this snide little way and said that’s what they did, then walked away. He came back a second later to inform us that the bill was 17 cents short. We all dug through the deep ends of our bags and bottoms of our pockets and miraculously gathered 17 cents in pennies. He took the bill away again only to come back in a huff and tell us that we could keep the 17 cents while he threw them at us. Stunned, we got up and walked out, never to come back again because really, there are tons of Thai restaurants in the neighborhood and much better ones nearby with truly unique foods and no bullshit from the servers. Despite getting placed on various “Best Cheap Eats” lists THE sucks and shouldn’t be gone to by anyone unless they hate themselves.