Lek's Railroad Thai
This is a throwback dining memory. Don and I visited Montgomery in February 2020, before the pandemic put a halt to our travel and dining adventures.
We arrived on a drizzly day. After checking into our hotel, we walked a block to admire this beautiful train station from 1898.
We didn't realize there was a restaurant hidden in the train station, until we saw their sign at night.
We love Thai food. And I love a restaurant with a clever name, that "Thais" into the theme of the building. Plus the reviews on TripAdvisor, raved about the food.
I'm not even sure why I took this photo of the entrance, when we arrived, over a year ago.
Maybe I was intrigued with the winding ramp and its endless railing. Or maybe I was amused by the chef sign, which looked a little out of place. Who knows. But now, my eyes are drawn to the bottle of hand sanitizer. Lek's Restaurant was so ahead of the game, in February 2020.
Once we made it up the ramp, we were greeted with a lovely, open dining space.
I could still feel a bit of the old station, with the high ceilings and narrow, iron columns. Another wall had tall windows, looking out toward the tracks.
There was lots of decor that we wouldn't have seen in the station, over a century ago. The carved doors, the elephant and the golden figures, came to the station with the owners in 1997.
Our waiter said his wife was related to the family who started this restaurant in Birmingham, before it came to Montgomery. I think he said they had the doors carved for the restaurant. But I could have that wrong.
We arrived on the late side that evening, so the restaurant was nearly empty. It was nice that I could peek around without bothering diners.
There were so many curious treasures, but my eyes were drawn to the photographs. I always want to know about people in photos.
Don asked more questions and I looked at more photos.
I noticed the framed portraits, hung high. Could that good looking couple be the owners, when they were young? I was wrong.
The King and Wife
I was surprised to learn that this casual portrait, was an image of Thailand's previous king and his wife. I never would have guessed that the man in the sunglasses was the well respected king, who died a few years ago.
I tried to remember what my daughter-in-law taught me in 2017, when we visited her family's home in Thailand. There are strict laws that prohibit criticism of Thai Royalty. So, I won't say much. Let's just say, the new king is not exactly adored.
Above the doorway, I saw two more portraits. I believe these are also images of the previous king and his wife. The country mourned his loss when he died in 2016.
Evidently he reigned for 70 years and 126 days. He was highly revered by the people of Thailand. His son does not have so many fans. Maybe that's why he mostly lives in Germany, instead of Thailand. Odd.
Food & Drink
What I remember well about our evening at Lek's, is that our meal was pretty amazing.
Don started off with some Singha beer. Perfect.
Don's a huge fan of Panang Curry and he was impressed with this smooth and spicy dish. I later learned that Lek's has earned the title of Best Ethnic Food Restaurant in Montgomery.
I often try to step out of my comfort zone and try new dishes. But I couldn't help myself. I chose my favorite, which isn't very adventurous.
Good old Pad Thai, called Pud Thai at Lek's. I was more than happy!
Festive, but Quiet
Before departing I took a quick look at the bar. I was glad to see two men having a relaxed converstaion. I hate being the very last to leave.
I admired more Thai decor, sitting right on top of the bar. Now, it's a year later and I'm noticing another bottle of hand sanitizer, on the corner above the high chairs. I guess the Lek family was staying on top of the news better than we were. At the time, Don and I were aware of the Coronavirus scare, but it was all far away. Hand sanitizer was not a thing yet.
On the way out, I noticed this photo. I'm not sure if any of these women are members of the Lek family.
Actually I'm not really sure if Lek is the name of the family at all. I was able to find so little on the internet. I would love to know more.
Luckily, it looks like the restaurant survived the challenges of 2020... and 2021, so far. Hopefully we'll be able to return, one of these days. I think I'll order Tom Yum soup. Then, I'll ask about that elephant head on the wall.
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The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.