Vancouver Reports, Part I: Simply Thai and Yaletown Gelato
In no particular order, I will start my Vancouver reports:
For the most part, we had great meals here. One of those good meals was tonight at Simply Thai, in Yaletown. Reservations were a good idea, as it was quite crowded, even on a Tuesday night.
We were seated outside on the patio, all the better to enjoy the balmy weather we’ve been having up here. Indoors the vibe is rather hip, with an open kitchen and nice lighting, but close together tables make it perhaps a bit claustrophobic. Outside is calmer and very casual. There were several families, with well-behaved young children, at the outside tables. There was also one smoker: we’ve been pleased to learn that smoking is banned in Vancouver restaurants, at least indoors. The smoker in question acted somewhat surreptitious yet obviously knew her server well (indeed, she looked enough like the server to be her twin sister), which made me wonder if she was being allowed to stretch the rules by smoking even outside in a food service area. Oh well, we were at the other end of the patio: otherwise I might have asked what the limits are.
Anyway, that possible stretch of Canadian law (and I say possible since for all I know it perfectly legit to smoke on the patio, although this was the first smoker we have encountered in several days of patio dining) was my only complaint about simply Thai. Well, unless you count it as a complaint that I would have liked more scallops in the scallop dish, but then, I always want more scallops......
We started with drinks from the creative and lengthy menu. One very nice touch: some of the signature drinks are made with 2 ounces of alcohol; others are less expensive but made with only one ounce. I had a Mellow Yellow from the later category: like drinking lemonade with just a slight kick. Hubby had a very good martini.
On to the food: We shared:
-stuffed chicken wings: Wow! Perhaps the best version of this dish I’ve ever had. Tender, juicy chicken meat, complex spicing in the stuffing. An outstanding start.
-papaya salad: ordered medium, it was not overly spicy, but had a definite kick. Delicious, clean flavors. It had a bit more of a lime flavor that I’ve had elsewhere. Hubby even ate the tomato chunks: and since he is not a tomato fan, that is the sign of a successful dish!
-Pad Thai: the menu says this is prepared ‘the real way’. I’m not sure that it was all that different in style from other versions I’ve had, but it definitely was flavorful, with clean distinct flavors: none of the sweet mush that pad thai can sometimes be.
-Sauteed Scallops in sweet chili paste with seasonal vegetables, green onion and fresh Thai basil. Rich, addictive sauce. Delicious.
With all of this we drank a half bottle of a very nice BC wine: Kettle Valley Gewurztraminer, from Okanagan. I think the year was 2002. (?) It went well with all the food, but particularly well with tthe chicken wings.
Service was friendly and efficient, and suited to the slightly upscale atmosphere. Total cost with tax and tip for two drinks, a half bottle of wine, two starters, rice and two mains, was $117 (Canadian). Well worth it. btw, for other US folks, tax on alcoholic beverages is very high, and alcohol in general and wine in particular, has been quite pricey by California standards everywhere we've eaten. Add to that the fact that the Canadian dollar seems to be getting stronger by the minute, and dining out here is not the bargain I remember from previous trips to Canada...Mind you, I'm not complaining, given the quality, just a reality check for US readers...
In any case, thanks to the hounds for this excellent recommendation! It wasn’t as good as my gold standard (Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, but then I haven’t been to Bangkok) but it definitely outshone any of the Thai restaurants I’ve tried in the SF bay area, by a long ways. Recommended, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
Ps: We wanted to try the mango with sticky rice for dessert, but it wasn’t available. This turned out to be fortuitous, since we stopped at Yaletown Gelato around the corner: delicious mango, not too sweet, with a creamy but not cloying or heavy texture. They advertise that the gelato is all house made from fresh ingredients.