The messiness of democracy, particularly salient during this electoral season, is enough to make anyone long for a benevolent dictator. As Portland's Thai restaurant choices proliferate, it is increasingly tempting to give in to the inexorable growth of the Pom conglomerate.
Tocqueville predicted that from American democracy would develop "an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure the people's gratifications and to watch over their fate. ... For their happiness [that power] willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures."
Here in Portland that power is Pom. Her three locations now form a sort of golden triangle into which competitors may wander at their peril. While the cuisine is consistently excellent, the ambience of Pom's locations vary to suit our tastes: the homey eclecticism of her original location on Cottage Road in South Portland; the elegance of the second, on South Portland's Western Avenue; and the austere modernity of the new one on Portland's Congress Street. Whichever spot you visit, it seems Pom is always there. Like any dominant corporation Pom works hard to be her own best competition. Her menu innovates constantly, including the addition of sushi and divine noodle soups in the past year. Despotism has rarely been so delicious.
Thai Taste of Maine | 435 Cottage Rd, South Portland | 207.767.3599 | Pom's Thai Restaurant | 209 Western Ave, South Portland | 207.347.3000 | Pom's Thai Taste Restaurant & Noodle House | 571 Congress St, Portland | 207.772.7999 | thaitastemaine.com