Friday, November 6, 2009

Review: Circles

Takeout menus. Usually they're for another interchangeable wings-steaks-pizza-or-Chinese place, and they're destined for a one-way trip to the recycle bin. But when the menu for Circles, a "contemporary Asian" restaurant down near 15th & Tasker in South Philly, arrived unsolicited in our mailbox, something made me give it a second look. First off, it didn't fit into the usual takeout genre, the Thai-style dishes on the menu looked pretty tasty, and the prices were almost downright cheap! So we decided to give it a chance for delivery, and we're glad we did.

One thing off the bat that Circles does right: when you order something fried that's supposed to be crispy, they cut notches in the corners of the container to keep it from becoming a soggy mess. This technique is employed with great success with the Thai Rolls, which are quite large and served cut in half lengthwise, allowing you a glimpse at their cross-section of succulent pork, vegetable and mushroom stuffing. Likewise, the Crab Rangoon arrives as five or six crisp, perfectly folded packages, stuffed with a curry cream cheese and crab filling. On the non-fried front, the summer rolls are a good version of the classic cold rice paper roll with shrimp.

The tom kha gai (coconut milk soup with chicken) was a fine way to start one of our orders; it was rich without being greasy, and had that kind of spiciness that builds up the more you eat of it.

Circles' Thai-style take on General Tso's Chicken is the humorously named General Thai Chicken, which differs from its counterpart by being much less deep-fried-tasting, and with pineapple to provide a nice sweet and sour note. Some surprisingly spicy peppers heat up the affair.

Finally, the dish that should be in the wheelhouse of any Thai-style restaurant, pad Thai, is a great rendition. Tasty sauce, not too sweet, not too greasy, just enough pea-nuttiness, and fresh, large shrimp. And at $9.95 for the shrimp version, considerably better than pad Thai I've had at some restaurants that charge $5 more for the same dish.

There's lots more on the menu that we've yet to try, including some interesting-looking desserts, and an $8.95 lunch special that includes soup, a spring roll, entree and dessert. From its first auspicious appearance in our mailbox, the Circles menu has gotten a well-deserved share of usage in our takeout rotation, and if you're nearby we highly recommend it for Asian food that's a little different from the usual.

Circles on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

slush said...

Hey lady! Just giving you a shout out that your turn to pick a TWD recipe is coming up Dec 1. I sent an email out a few weeks ago and didnt hear anything back. Please choose for your week and send me an email. thanks! xo