Over the last several years, kBird has developed quite the reputation around Little Rock for its authentic Thai food served by lawyer-turned-chef, Richard Glasgow. What began as a food truck morphed into a brick and mortar location about two years ago.
The sit-down location, found at 600 North Tyler Street in Little Rock, is a rather unexpected gem. A converted house in a residential neighborhood, there is barely a sign to notify passers-by that they’ve arrived. Upon entering the restaurant, I was confronted with what reminded me of a friend’s house in college—clean, slightly worn, and just enough seating to go around. There is an obvious counter at which to order, above which there is a dry erase board suspended by a string. The dry erase board holds many of the same dishes from day to day, but is customized with specials and easily marked as items change.
We arrived at kBird around 1:10, hoping to miss the lunch crowd. We bee lined for the counter to place an order, only to be told they were out of fried rice and steamed rice. No biggie on my end, as Pad Thai with chicken was on my mind. My companion selected PPK, pork stir fried with curry paste, long beans, and peppercorn, though he was warned it would be served with sticky rice as a substitute. After paying a reasonable $11 each, we turned to pick a table. While a couple of tables and two bar seats were occupied, we had our pick of the rest of the dining area.
It wasn’t long before my name was called, indicating orders ready to collect at the counter. My eyes bugged out at the huge plate of noodles awaiting me, and I’ll admit to emitting a series of happy noises upon taking the first bite. Unlike some versions, this is not a plate of peanut sauce soaked noodles with a little chicken. The noodles were perfection, and though I’ll admit to not being able to name every ingredient in the dish, there was an impressive range of flavors that were still impressively unified. My friend’s dish, though arguably a bit light compared to my own, was similarly well-executed. In fact, he remarked that it was quite possibly the best Thai food he’d ever had—a noteworthy comment from someone who eats as much of it as he does.
kBird is an interesting dining experience. The food is good, and there are sauces to increase the heat, saltiness, and/or sweetness if that’s your thing. The location itself is quirky, and in fact feels a bit like someone serving meals out of their living room—but in a good way. Its relatively close proximity to downtown and UA Little Rock make it a convenient choice for lunch—though, show up early, because they sell out on a regular basis.