A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Anna and the King Would Have Adored Siam Smiles

In response to my article about Route 34 as Aberdeen's new Main Street, a reader wrote me recommending a new Thai restaurant in town called Siam Smiles. He encouraged me to add the restaurant to my blog's list of local restaurants as it had become one of their favorite places for dinner. So tonight my family and I went exploring Asian cuisine and were pleasantly surprised at what we found.

The restaurant is in a humble storefront near a pizza place and a tanning salon, but once inside the atmosphere changes to a comfortable Asian hideaway under indirect lighting and ornately carved wainscoting. Large figures of Budda's face, fans with cranes dancing, and scenes of ancient elephant caravans adorn the walls. The music wasn't exactly an adventure in Thai culture -- I think I caught Whitney Houston in the background belting out something from My Bodyguard at one point, but it was soft and utterly ignorable. The floor was carpeted and the tables spaced for privacy and we were successfully shielded from both the front door and the kitchen by decorative screens.

Siam Smiles replaced Cafe De' Thai, a Thai-French fusion restaurant that was in the same location. The current owner-operators are a married couple, and they are assisted by their family. The chef-owner prepared Thai cuisine in Hoboken before coming to Aberdeen. The wait staff were very attentive and exceedingly gracious.

We had jasmine green tea and vegetable spring rolls with a peach sauce to start. My wife found the Gai Supparod (sauteed chicken with pineapple, celery, bell pepper, onions, scallion and cashew nuts in home made chili sauce) very tasty but not as spicy as she'd hoped, so she'll be trying something with a bit more zest next time. My daughter, on the other hand, found the Moo Tod Rad Prig (crispy fried pork in spicy chili and garlic sauce and topped with crisy basil) to be nice and spicy. I had the Massaman Curry (choice of chicken, beef, or pork -- I chose the pork -- with onions, potato, and peanuts in massaman curry paste and coconut milk), which was delightful. The chunks of potato and onion made it seem like I was having Irish stew, but in Bangkok, not Dublin.

Dinner for three, plus tip but without dessert was $55.00. Most meals ran between $11-14, but prices range up to $18.00 a plate, so you could double our tab if you bulked up on appetizers, soup, and desserts.

The restaurant is in the Pine Valley Shopping Center on Route 34 South, just north of the traffic light at Atlantic and south of the Hess station. I heartily recommend that you support this upstart business. It's a tough time to be starting out. They are sweet people, lovely hosts, and great cooks.

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