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Jan 27, 2007 01:48 PM

Siam Thai (Lambertville NJ)

Dinner the other night at Siam Thai in Lambertville was a total disappointment in every way. I had heard good things about this small restaurant slightly outside the main drag of "downtown" Lambertville.

The staff was cold, aloof and unfriendly, and were being quite snobbish about squeezing people in since they were "totally booked" for the evening, yet at 7pm when we left (they open at 6pm) there were approximately 75 % EMPTY tables.

We ordered a Tom Kha Gai soup to begin. The soup lacked everything good about this standard. It was not terribly warm even though we specifically asked for it (temperature) extra hot and came with two ice-cold bowls for us to split it into. It tasted like they took some hot water, added fish sauce and the thin liquid from coconut milk (not even the nice thick "milk"), threw in one lonely piece of galangal, and a couple chunks of gristly dark and white meat chicken.

Next, we shared an appetizer special of "Spicy Thai Shrimp Cakes" which our unfriendly waitress was kind enough to inform us in advance that they were "dense and chewy" (as opposed to what, light and crispy perhaps?). The 6 dollar order contained 4 measly thumb-sized "cakes" which looked, and sadly even tasted, like the chicken nuggets you could get at Burger King, They were lukewarm, soggy, flavorless barely tasting of shrimp, on a piece of wet lettuce, with a tiny dish of chopped cucumber and onion.

For an entree my companion had a Shrimp with thai basil dish, which was mediocre at best. 6 or 7 small shrimp in a basil-garlic-whatever generic sauce, with a couple slices of jalapeno and red peppers, topped with some fresh basil.

I ordered a grilled grouper with tamarind sauce, garlic and chilis. On a small dish was a filet of grouper, on top of which they had spooned some sauce. The sauce was sickly-sweet, syrupy and almost gooey, and tasted like tamarind-flavored cough syrup. On top, they had slivers of "roasted" garlic, the kind of half-crunchy-half-soggy kind you get when you accidentally burn the garlic in oil.

On top of everything else that was wrong with the meal, they served steamed WHITE rice. Not even Jasmine rice !!!!

We didn't feel the need to leave a tip, which we very rarely do, but the service was lackluster at best. The waitress actually chased us out the door and down the street, shouting that we did not leave her a tip !!!

There is a much better Siam Thai (apparently NOT affiliated with the Lambertville one) located in Buckingham township outside Lahaska. Safe to say, we'll leave the Lambertville location to tourist rubes.

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  1. That's a shame. I don't live in the area anymore, But I believe this is the same place my husband and I used to go to -- 8-10 years ago. It used to be quite good -- with strong flavors and fresh ingredients.

    1. The one in Buckingham is very good. My husband and I have been there twice and even though there's one guy acting as host, bartender and waiter, he could not be more friendly. On our second visit (which happened to be our first wedding anniversary) we must have been acting all lovey-dovey because he asked if we had just gotten married.

      We probably won't go to the one in Buckingham again, though, because we moved to Newtown and they have a location there as well, literally down the street from our house. We haven't tried it yet, but I'm hoping it's as good as the Buckingham location.

      1. Hey Sarah we seem to go to a lot of the same places in the Hunterdon / Bucks county areas and I always enjoy and respect your comments.

        I ~think~ we may have been eating one nite at the same time you were in Cross Culture the Indian place in Lahaska. (does your husband have glasses?). Cross Culture, by the way, has very good food, but the price point is way too high for that location. The clueless tourists that flood the area don't want / are scared by the cuisine, and will opt for the Golden Trough across the street for a cheap comfort meal.

        Anyway. I digress, I just had dinner at the Buckingham Siam Thai again tonite and it was very very good. They had a waitress not just the host guy hah hah.

        Just wanted to touch base and say Hello.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sethboy

          Hey Seth. Thank you...I respect your comments as well.

          We've only been to Cross Culture once and it was for lunch - in mid-October - so I don't think it was us. But now that you mention it, I do worry about them surviving. The Peddler's Village crowd (with their kids in tow) seem more likely to patronize a pub-style restaurant than be adventurous and try something new. I've told a few friends about them and they've all been and raved, so maybe there's hope for them yet.

          We need to get over to Siam Thai again (although I do want to try the one in Newtown since it's right down the street from our house). I'm glad to hear the Buckingham location has a waitress now! :)

        2. I went there last summer based upon favorable reviews and was completely disappointed with everything we got. I mean I was really surprised. I don't even recall what we had but I do know two of us shared several dishes and a soup and weren't impressed by any of it. I think it's the first time I ever went to a Thai restaurant where I didn't have at least something I liked. And the place was packed too. I didn't know there was another decent Thai restaurant within 30 miles of Lambertville. I never tried the one in Buckingham, which is pretty close to Lambertville.

          1. I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience at Siam. Unfortunately, I have heard several other people say this lately. However, I eat there often and think the food is great. I always get the chicken skewers with peanut dipping sauce for an appetizer and either thai curry chicken or pork with peanut sauce for an entree. And the coconut ice cream is amazing for dessert. It is defnitely not a place that you would go to for the atmosphere and some of the waitresses can be rude, but it is SO cheap and a BYOB where you can get great food. I have tried the Siam in Buckingham and didn't think that the food was nearly as good as the place in Lambertville. And I was cracking up at the comment about the same guy being the host, waiter and bartender because I had the same thought when I was there. I think you should give Siam in Lambertville another try and order according to my recommendations.

            14 Replies
            1. re: rainking2007

              We also don't enjoy Siam in Lambertville anymore. My DH and I used to go fairly often years ago and loved it - the staff was friendly, the food was terrific, the prices were great - all in charming Lambertville. But the last two times we went we had the same miserable experience as other posters here - surly staff and pretty terrible food in miserly portions. We will not be going back.

              1. re: flourgirl

                Wow, I'm glad it's not just me. I was there for the first time for lunch a few weeks ago. The food was soso, but the service was not great at all. I felt like I was intruding--although they weren't too busy (maybe four tables in use).
                I had heard that there's another Thai restaurant in Lambertville now. Is that true?

                1. re: emcd

                  If there is another Thai restaurant in Lambertville, I'm not familiar with it.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    Thai Tida has only been open about 1 month and is on N. Main Street beyond Bell's Restaurant as you are heading away from town. Pass Elm Street and it is on the right. You can't miss the brightly colored fake flowers in the flower boxes. I have been there twice and tried the fish cakes (spongy but authentic), chicken satay (fabulous), fried spring rolls (light on filling), and chicken with coconut curry sauce (a little on the sweet side but tasty). There are only about 12 - 15 tables so make a reservation on the weekend. It is BYOB and the prices are very reasonable. The staff was friendly. I live nearby and am looking forward to trying many of their dishes.

                    1. re: ccelia

                      Thanks so much for this post. Thai Tida restaurant sounds promising. Do you know if it's connected to any other Thai places? The name is unique (at least to me) so maybe it's a stand alone establishment.

                      Added edit: Did you note any Laotian menu items?

                      1. re: ambrose

                        I don't believe it is connected to any other Thai places. And, yes, I am pretty certain that they had a section towards the back of the menu with Laotian entrees. That is what I will be trying next.

                      2. re: ccelia

                        Thank you so much ccelia! My family and I are definitely going to try this place.

                    2. re: emcd

                      Check out the following link. I know nothing about this place and the information provided is sparse indeed! I suspect there are also Thai places across the river in New Hope.


                      1. re: ambrose

                        I had seen that Web site, but now I'm just going to have to investigate. Thanks for the push, Ambrose!

                        1. re: emcd

                          Let us know what you discover about Thai Tida. It's supposed to also serve Laotian food. Now that could be interesting, assuming it's authentic. My experience with most restaurants that claim to serve different types of Asian cuisine is that they end up doing none of them well!

                          1. re: ambrose

                            Yes, emcd, please let us know how your experience was if you go.

                            Unfortunately though, my experience has generally been the same as ambrose. There's a place in New Hope, across the river, (it's name escapes me at the moment - maybe it's Wildflowers?)) that serves all kinds of Asian cuisine, along with comfort American food, like meatloaf. The menu's like a book, and the one time we went, I had Thai there and I thought it was OK at best.

                            1. re: flourgirl

                              I'm new to the area (in exile from North Jersey), but I routinely light a candle in hopes of having a good Vietnamese within a short drive. To me, Laotian/Cambodian means someone is listening.
                              My food voodoo has worked so far in terms of my my kaffir leaf supply--I hear a Whole Foods is coming to the intersection of 263 and 313.

                              1. re: emcd

                                O.K. now my ears just perked up. Where is the intersection of 263 & 313?

                                And welcome to the area - we love it. We're in Hunterdon, not Mercer, but close enough.

                                I hope that food voodoo keeps workin' for ya!

                      2. re: emcd

                        I was at Siam about 15 months ago, and it was okay. I used to eat there regularly about 20 years ago, but once it caught on, I could never make a reservation. They took the phone off the hook. Sad to hear it has gone so downhill.

                        Within 30 minutes of Lambertville is Pru, in Clinton. It's quite good, and the owners and servers are very accommodating. I always order the squid appetizer. Next store is Pru Tea, and they have the best tea selection in all of NJ, as well as some fine desserts and a hugely nice person behind the counter, who is the wife of the owner.