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Thai Siam (Arrington, VA off VA29) Questions

w
Wangus Oct 9, 2009 06:50 PM

Hi everyone,

I've been dying to make the trip to Thai Siam ever since I moved to Charlottesville. My thoughts were to get a small group of people (5 or 6) in a car and drive down one night for dinner. I had planned to give the owner a heads up so that she could potentially conceptualize the family-style meal in advance (I'd be leaving the meal mostly up to her discretion).

Here's the big problem: I can't seem to get ahold of the place! I've used both the 434-263-8577 (chow and yelp's listed number) as well as a 434-263-7938 number I found on google. Both numbers simply just continue to ring without answer or voice mail. I tried calling last night around 7:30, and in thinking that she might have just been too busy at that time, tried calling again today both before and after regular dinner hours. No luck. Does anyone know if I might have an old phone number, if there are specific times I should be calling, or any other information I might need to know (like she's on vacation right now or something)?

Secondarily, but since I'm already typing I might as well vocalize, are more minor issues: what dishes have really stood out to those of you who have been here before. I don't necessarily mean specific entrees, but more in the sense of "she prepares 'x ingredient' amazingly" or "this rendition of 'x sauce' is to die for". This way I might have potential requests if it seems like something I'd want or she'd want.

In addition, I do have one individual in my group that does not eat red meat, and another potential group member who is extremely picky when it comes to ingredients (no pork, seafood/shellfish of any kind, and nothing too texturally soft [eg. mainy asian noodles, dumpling, tofu, etc.]) Does anyone have recommendations to accomodate these (particularly the later)?

Thanks for looking in and for your input. If this goes well, I'm very excited to plan a grand trip back with many more people.

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  1. Cpt Wafer RE: Wangus Oct 11, 2009 02:08 PM

    I've been to Thai Siam exactly one time. But I'll pass along what I know and what I _think_ I know.

    Facts

    The number I have for them is 434-263-8577. Got it off the to-go menu. The evening we were there, it was BUSY. The owner spent most of her time boxing to-go orders and tending the register. At times she seemed swamped and harried. (Think one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.) Sometimes the phone went unanswered. There were only two others working with her and that includes the cook (he was busier than she was).

    All the dipping sauces we tried were the best I've ever eaten. So good as to stand apart from any others I've had. For those that don't want pork or red meat I'd suggest the duck. I did not love the calamari (but the sauce was exceptional). Get her dumplings.

    Guesses

    I wouldn't expect her to spend much time on the phone working out a dinner tailored to special wants. Now, after you go a few times and she gets to know you that might change but I wouldn't look for it up front.

    1. w
      Wangus RE: Wangus Oct 21, 2009 02:11 PM

      Went down this weekend to Thai Siam, and after a few days of reflection (and work) I thought I’d post some thoughts about the trip. The drive is only about 30-45minutes each way from CVille.

      Overall Notes: This was a great experience. I’m not Thai, so I make no claims about true authenticity, but the food was deeply flavorful, layered with spices, and unlike Thai food you’ll normally find (or at least that I’ve normally found). Of particular note are the sauces that she makes: they’re superb. Prices are on par or cheaper than most local Thai places as well. I also want to mention that the owner is a truly wonderful lady to talk to.

      Dishes: I want to mention that I’m pretty critical when it comes to reviewing dishes, but I don’t believe that flaws automatically make a bad dish, and I’d like to reiterate my overall enjoyment of the trip.

      Thai Dumplings – pork inside, structured similar to shumai that you would get at Cantonese dim sum. Meat was still tender. Appeared hand-made (which is very cool). The sauce that came with was like a soy/vinegar mix (maybe with some ginger as well).

      Fresh Spring Roll – vegetarian. Light & fresh ingredients with a fantastic peanut sauce. One of the best peanut sauces I’ve ever had.

      Chicken Satay – unfortunately the chicken was quite overdone, and except for a bit of charred flavor it was fairly bland. This was thankfully offset by another fabulous sauce (also peanut based I believe).

      Duck Curry & Beef Panang, both thai hot – I really dig the curries here. And they do not skimp on heat, which only makes me enjoy them more. The depth of flavor in these curries is truly delicious (really loved the addition of peeled grapes and pineapple). Unfortunately, the proteins that accompany take a pretty heavy backseat. In fact, you could barely tell what pieces you were scooping out were duck/beef versus anything else. So that was a bit of a downer. Small note- even if you’re not a big spicy lover, I’d recommend trying out the thai hot because of its mixture of flavors, but be careful: there are some peppers inside the curry that could lead to accidental ingestion (followed by hilarity for other table members).

      Shrimp Pad Thai – I actually enjoyed this dish much more than I thought I would. Fresh bean sprouts, lime and flavorful peanuts really give their pad thai a level of intricacy that I haven’t experienced in other thai places. Shrimp was also cooked well which was a big plus.

      And there you have our meal. I had a blast and hope to go back soon. Thanks to hounders who provided both active and passive help for making this trip possible.

      1. t
        Tony M. RE: Wangus Jun 8, 2010 01:04 PM

        After reading some post saying this may be the best thai in the usa I had to add it to my list to try. Based on just one visit I can see why some dishes inspire aaahs, but others disappoint.

        By way of background I've been to many thais in Queens NY and I have been to Thailand.

        The Good -

        Chicken Green Curry was excellent. This is my go-to dish, a favorite that makes for a good base of comparison. The dish here, ordered hot (but not Thai hot) was indeed hot and delicious with deep flavor.

        Thai Dumplings - very nice, with a good dipping sauce.

        Pad Thai - the pad thai was certainly good, and quite a generous portion, but it could have been excellent. In Thailand they always bring "the condiments" with Pad Thai. Usually 4 different heat sources - pepper flakes, ground red pepper and two sauces with chiles. Mixing them in is part of the fun of Pad Thai. In the USA you usually have to ask, but if you ask for the condiments, you get a knowing smile and a tray comes out. Not here. They told us they did not have anything. Perhaps some hot sauce? No. Didn't make any sense, they could have just cut up a chile or something, but despite being the only diners in the restaurant, no effort was made.

        The Bad -

        The Chicken Satay pieces were very large, but very bland. One of the basics of chicken satay is that the chicken is marinated to enhance the flavor. Did not seem to be the case here. The chicken appeared as white and flavorless as when it came from the store. The peanut sauce was not too exciting either and it lacked heat. We used some of the dipping sauce from the dumplings to give the chicken a bit of flavor and that helped.

        Duck Basil - the most expensive item on the menu, it was the most disappointing. The dish had some nice vegatables but it lacked flavor. The duck itself was bland. When I put a piece of duck in the green curry sauce it was better, but on its own, not good.

        Bottom Line - I would go again and pick up some of that curry. The place is called Thai Siam Take Out for a reason, there are just a few tables.

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        Thai Siam
        4137 Tye Brook Hwy, Coleen, VA 22922

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