The first time I drove past J's Noodles & New Thai Restaurant on South Parker Road I did a double take. Could it be that the revered Federal Boulevard spot was opening a second location? Well, sort of. The Federal restaurant (a longtime favorite of mine and countless other Denver foodies) is now called J's Noodle Star Thai, while the Parker Road eatery (formerly Thai Spice Cafe) has assumed the original name. Did you get all that?
On paper, the menus are virtually the same, but the owners are different (Sammy Teawdeswan traded partnership in the Federal J's for a restaurant of his own). I was anxious to give the Parker Road spot a try—to see if it echoed the quality established by the Federal location. I'm sad to report that, while good, J's Noodles & New Thai doesn't deliver the same degree of finesse.
Two dishes of pad see-ew (a hauntingly simple dish of wide rice noodles stir-fried with broccoli, egg, and fresh basil in a black soy sauce) tasted as if they'd been cooked in different kitchens. Meanwhile, the massaman curry—though rich and creamy—didn't have the same snap or freshness. The kitchen was also out of two dishes that we tried to order.
To J's Noodles & New Thai's credit, the space is bigger and spiffier than that of J's on Federal, but even so, I'll drive instead to 945 S. Federal Blvd. for curry puffs and some of the best pad see-ew and curry in town.
J's Noodles & New Thai, 1842 S. Parker Rd., 303-755-2500
J's Noodle Star Thai, 945 S. Federal Blvd., 303-922-5495