The Vibe: Thanks to sitting over the confluence of two major thoroughfares through South Seattle, the Mount Baker station is a busy light rail stop. When the weather isn't pretty, people move fast to get out of the elements. As you run from the station looking for cover, head north toward O'Reilly Auto Parts and veer left into the parking lot. There sits your oasis from the cold.
The Café: No, not the Domino's, with its ominous window over the counter under which patrons slide their cash. Look left. Tucked into the same mini strip mall is Thai Recipe (2609 S. McClellan, 723-6165). Inside you can warm up to a CD that sounds like Barenaked Ladies singing along to the demo settings on a Casio and the smell of things cooking in sweet chili sauce.With the smell filling my nostrils, my eyes quickly land on a menu item called "Salmon on Fire." It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like, salmon baked in the aforementioned sweet chili sauce.
"Three stars?" I request hesitantly when ordering it, deciding to balance it out with a more mild-sounding fried eggplant dish and crab-stuffed wontons.
The dish lives up to the smell, if not the name. It's not so hot my mouth turns numb, but that's a good thing, because I can taste all the components from the fish to the carrots and broccoli carefully arranged around it. And as a bonus the slab of salmon smothered in that incredibly addictive sauce (I'm craving more right now) is enough to comfortably feed two.
A solid selection of mediocre curries is about all that's required for an eight-table, strip-mall Thai joint to serve its culinary purpose. That Thai Recipe has bothered to come up with delicious entrees as well is really going above and beyond. In fact, it was so good that by the end, I found myself starting to get into those Casio-inspired Thai pop songs.