I don’t know why it is, but whenever I think about restaurants in the downtown area, I seldom think of Napasorn. It’s occupied the corner space on Pine Street and Court Avenue since 2003. Previously, that was the location of the estimable Le Provence French restaurant, which closed in 2001. Napasorn has become even more obscure since the looming Plaza complex was built in front of it, but it seems to have found its niche among downtown denizens and lunchers from nearby offices.
It was a noontime meeting that prompted me to pay an updating visit to Napasorn. The surroundings are pleasant enough — little seems to have changed even from the days of Le Provence — but they seem a little dulled with time. A sprucing up with some fresh paint (at least enough to cover the scuff marks and marred walls) might be in order.
The food is basically the same as I remember: perfectly acceptable but rarely extraordinary. My lunch companion and I started with an appetizer of “soft rolls,” the unfried version of the spring rolls. Although shrimp was listed among the ingredients, I spotted none in the roll I ate, only noodles and lettuce inside a spring roll skin.
The panang curry with beef had big hunks of bell peppers, snow peas and string beans mixed in with the sliced beef. The curried sauce was a bit on the mild side, but the flavors, which included fresh basil, were very nice. The dish would have been more enjoyable if the rice had been moister and fluffier. What we were served did not seem as though it had been recently steamed.
The pad Thai was fine, the rice noodles well coated with the slightly sweet sauce, tossed with tangy bits of scallions, crunchy bean sprouts off to the side.
Service was detached but sufficiently efficient. Napasorn isn’t the best Thai restaurant in town, but it’s the best in downtown, and I’m glad to knonw it’s there.
Napasorn is at 56 E. Pine St., Orlando. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily. Dinner prices range from $10.95 to $18.95; lunch entrees are $6.95 to $9.95. Click here to download the menu . This link will take you to thaidowntown.com. The phone number is 407-245-8088.