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Millbrae's Little Whale Migrates to Thailand

A long-standing Millbrae Institution gets an upgrade.

If you have driven through downtown Millbrae on the Magnolia side you may have noticed a change. Gone is the cute “little whale” that adorned The Little Whale Restaurant and in its place is , a new Thai cuisine restaurant.

Never being one to miss out on a new restaurant, I invited my mother, my husband and daughter along to try it out.

We went on a Friday night for dinner. They had a good amount of patrons but we were seated quickly. The old Little Whale restaurant's presence could still be felt. They have made slight changes to the decor, but it could still use a bit of a facelift.

For all of you “hard-core” Little Whale diners, do not fret. Your classic Little Whale menu is still available! Yes, you read that right. They are still offering all of the old favorites like the Petrale Sole and the Calamari Dore (my personal favorite.) But I strongly encourage you to at least try one item from the new menu. Shake things up a bit!

I was excited to see the new menu. I love Thai food and was interested to see if there were some new types of Thai dishes to try. I immediately zeroed in on an appetizer dish call "cheese puffs" - cream cheese and bay shrimp in a wonton wrapper. There was no question that I would be eating those! We decided that we would order a few different dishes, that way we could all sample different menu items. Here is what we ordered:

  • Zaap’s Famous Crispy Calamari
  • Cheese Puffs          
  • Chicken Satay
  • Tom Yum Seafood Soup
  • Stir-Fried Broccoli with Shrimp
  • Pad Thai with Chicken
  • White Rice

The dishes came out one at a time which worked perfectly because it gave us time to eat and critique! Obviously I wanted to know what everyone else thought of the food, too.

The Cheese Puffs came out first. I was very excited! I was not disappointed. The wonton outside was crunchy and then you bit into this soft, warm, cream cheesy goodness. The shrimp was just an added bonus. Everyone thought those were a clear winner, including my daughter.

Next up, calamari. Being Italian, we are pretty picky about our calamari. We tend to have the flavors be a part of the breading, whereas is seems in the Thai culture, they prefer the use of sauces. The coating on the calamari was light and crispy, so crispy that I made quite the mess while trying to cut smaller pieces for my daughter. Pairing the calamari with the chili dipping sauce provided was the key. It was delicious.

The chicken satay skewers came out next. They were a good size and smelled great. They came with a peanut dipping sauce that wasn't quite as "peanutty" as I would have preferred. We all agreed that the skewers were pretty darn good on their own, no need for the sauce. After the amount I ate at this meal, my waistline appreciated my not having the sauce!

When my mom asked the waiter if the Tom Yum soup was a large enough order for three people, he wasn't joking when he said "yes." When this huge bowl of Tom Yum soup was set down on the table, I felt like my daughter could have taken a bath in it. It was filled to the brim with tons of seafood. Mussels, calamari, scallops, prawns, mushrooms, onions and tomato in a delicious lemony broth. Be forewarned, it's spicy! Not make you sweat into your soup spicy, but enough for you to say "Wow, my mouth is kind of on fire!"

By this point, I was ready to pop, but we still had two more dishes to go. The broccoli with prawns came out and I forgot all about my gastric overload. The broccoli was cooked just how I like it. It was still a little crunchy and had absorbed the garlic, soy and oyster sauce in which it was cooked. Everything was cooked really well which is especially important when there are prawns involved. There is nothing worse than overcooked seafood.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, the Pad Thai. Yes, I just spoke French about a Thai restaurant. I would have written it in Thai, but I probably would have completely butchered the language.

The Pad Thai was amazing! We ordered ours with chicken, but you can order it with other proteins. I seriously could have eaten the entire plate by myself. In fact, I was a little ticked off that I had to share. I'm very serious when it comes to food, especially good food.

By the end of the meal, we were all full and satisfied. My mom, who usually isn't a fan of Thai food, said that she really enjoyed it. She even liked the Pad Thai, which she has not liked from other restaurants. My husband and I also thoroughly enjoyed it.

As much as I enjoyed The Little Whale, I think it was time for it to make a change. Based on the food, it was a move in the right direction.

Angela Jordan-Chetcuti December 08, 2011 at 05:33 PM
I have since gone there for lunch and have not been disappointed! They have a really great menu of lunch specials. I enjoyed the yellow chicken curry with prawn pad thai. I actually enjoyed it so much that I went back that same week to have it again! The lunch specials come with rice and a choice of soup or salad. I also had the chance to try the ice cream (that's what happens when I take my daughter to lunch!) The ice cream (all flavors) is AMAZING! Try to save room for it!

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