Thepthidaa Thai Restaurant

A new restaurant in the theater district offers kinder, gentler flavors

Thepthidaa, on the other hand, is an outpost of the old-fashioned school of American Thai cooking that goes easy on the spice level for fear of alienating mainstream diners. The food isn't totally timid -- it has a little zing here and there -- but not much. If you like your Thai food on the tame side, you are in luck.

The owner of Thepthidaa, Primvadee Roberts, once ran the popular Thai restaurant on Memorial called The King & I, named after a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical that was made into a movie in 1956. Both the play and the film starred a bald actor named Yul Brynner (1920–1985) who played the King of Siam, as Thailand was once known.

Judging from the newspaper clippings and old reviews of the King & I restaurant that are now displayed on the walls, Roberts sees her new restaurant as a comeback opportunity. Even her new Thepthidaa business card reads, "Premvadee Roberts, Chef/Owner (formerly of The King & I)."

In four visits, the best dish was the pork khee mao.
Troy Fields
In four visits, the best dish was the pork khee mao.

Location Info


Thepthidaa Thai Restaurant

401 Louisiana
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Downtown/ Midtown


Lunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Dinner hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Lunch special: $7.95

Tom yum soup: $5.95

Som tum salad: $7.95

Basil pork: $9.95

Khee Mao noodles: $9.95

401 Louisiana, 713-225-4900.

The cryptic and unpronounceable new moniker, Thepthidaa, is also the name of Roberts's daughter. Though new, the restaurant is something of a throwback. Maybe I have been spoiled by the authentic exotica at Vieng Thai ("Crab Shells and Stink Beans," September 1, 2005). But the cheese roll appetizers and the sweet-and-sour pork, chicken and shrimp on Thepthidaa's new menu seem sadly dated. So does the peanut buttery Massaman curry and the piña colada-like duck. I know that this kind of tamed-down Asian food appeals to a lot of people. And Premvadee Roberts has a lot of loyal supporters.

Years ago, The King & I restaurant was on the cutting edge of Thai cuisine. But a lot has happened since then. A new wave of authentic Thai restaurants has taken the city by storm. Satay and pad Thai have gotten to be old hat. And not so many Houstonians remember Yul Brynner anymore.

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