Tin Drum AsiaCafé has replaced Emory Village’s Wonderful World of Burgers and, after two weeks of remodeling, held its grand opening this Monday. I set my mind on investigating this new eatery after finishing my last midterm of the semester. Since the owner decided to open literally right across the street from another Asian restaurant, Doc Chey’s, the food must be decent.
Eager to start off my weekend early, I headed over in high spirits. The faded remnants of “Wonderful World of Burgers” still topped the lit restaurant. I’m a sucker for natural lighting – it just makes everything seem so much more cheerful, clean, and cute On the inside, the restaurant looked like the street-side restaurant it was. I was excited to see that the wooden counters from Wonderful World had been replaced by separated tables, which made the place feel more spacious and comfortable.
Two nifty “self-order & pay” touchscreens sat at the ordering counter. I had never seen these at a restaurant before, but before I had a chance to play with -…use- one, a lady finished clearing a table and came behind the counter to take my order. Sigh. I ordered their Pad Thai and settled down to wait. Thank you, Tin Drum, for providing outlets along with your free WiFi. So many places advertise free WiFi only to not have outlets available, which can be very frustrating for those whose laptops have short battery lives (me).
The restaurant wasn’t very busy even though it was half past noon and my food came out after about 10 minutes. Beansprouts and shredded carrots topped the pad thai and a rather pitifully dry lime slice was nestled on the side.
I sprinkled the noodles with what little juice the lime had to offer and proceeded to mix the noodles. The noodles, however, had different ideas and clung to each other with choke holds. After some prompting from my chopsticks and a fork, I soon persuaded them to separate. The first bite told me all I needed to know to about this dish – it’s nothing special. The pad thai contained almost no flavor. It needed more tang, more spice (it had none), more everything that defines a pad thai. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t good either. I’m not an expert on Thai food, but, to put it bluntly, the pad thai resembled ketchup on noodles. However, there was plenty of chicken in the dish, a couple of which were pretty ginormous, and the portion was decent for less than $8. After the addition of a tablespoon of Sriracha, I proceeded to finish the bowl. The greatest aspect of this dish was the absence of the pool of oil and grease which so often accompanies dishes in “non-authentic” Asian restaurants.
Tin Drum AsiaCafé has its work cut out for it if it hopes to survive in such close proximity to another Asian restaurant. It had a bright cheery atmosphere and friendly servers. I will likely return due to its convenience and price, but will definitely order something else next time (hopefully through the self-ordering screen :D). Who knows? Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised by their curry or fried rice.
Tin Drum AsiaCafé
1561 N Decatur Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30307