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Sep 18, 2010 08:38 PM

Ploy Siam in Robbinsville

Friday we went to the Ploy Siam restaurant that recently opened in Robbinsville, at the Foxmoor Shopping Center off of Rt. 33. I was glad to see it open since the last time we went to Penang on Rt. 1, we walked out halfway thru ordering because of the lousy service and never went back.

I'm very far from an expert in Thai food, but in a nutshell here's what we saw and ate:

Decor: Very nice. Muted lighting, but not dark. Candlelight-ish. A fountain running down a bas-relief was an indication of the time, effort and money that has gone into the place.

Service: Excellent. From the chef-manager, who came out to see how we were doing, to the host and waitress, they were all very pleasant and interested in seeing us happy. There were a couple of awkward moments where we had to ask twice about something due to their strong accents, but that's not an issue in my book.

Menu/prices: Menu wasn't small and not huge. Lots of duck dishes, which I'll be sure to try the next time I'm there. Prices seemed a little high, but that interior decorating has to be paid for somehow.

Meal: The appetizer was something called Golden Bags--we both loved them, and we could have made a meal out of two orders. They had crab meat, shrimp, waterchestnuts and mushrooms in a tofu package.
For the main meal, we ordered seafood Pad Thai and whole steamed Ginger Fish. Like I said, I'm not a Thai food expert, but the Pad Thai wasn't the best I ever had. It was okay, but seemed a little heavy. Maybe it's supposed to be that way, but I don't know. I should have asked for another lemon wedge to squeeze on to it. That would have brightened things up. Next time I get the duck.
The steamed fish was great. Perfectly done with a nice sauce. We didn't leave a shred of meat on the bones. The jasmine rice that was served with the meal was also better than the usual restaurant rice we get in Asian restaurants--especially when we poured the sauce from the fish over it.
Dessert was green tea creme brulee. We didn't realize it was made with green tea when we ordered it, but it tasted good and was an interesting change of pace.

All in all, an enjoyable meal, and a happy (and much needed) addition to the local restaurant scene. We'll definitely be going back.

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  1. Went to Ploy Siam last night. Agree that the decor is very nice, having seen that space in its prior iterations they did a nice job. It is a large space, I hope they get the business to keep it going.
    Service very attentive, we also had the manager stop by to check on us (and also as we were leaving). We had vegeatable dumplings, which were steamed properly, the wrapper was not sticky nor was is falling apart. Filling included peas and water chestnuts, would have liked a little more seasoning other than the dipping sauce (gingery soy based).
    Entrees were Pad Tamarind with Chicken and a noodle dish with thin vermicelli type rice noodles and chicken (name escapes me at the moment) which had "house sauce".
    The Pad Tamarind had good tangy flavor, included sauteed onions, green bell pepper, pineapple, carrot, snow peas. The noodle dish included sauteed mushrooms and scallion.
    We were not asked how spicy we wanted out dishes, and neither one came with any spice at all. Next time we will try some of the curries to see how they are.
    Be advised on one thing that I found sort of irksome...we were given one cup of rice to share (perhaps because one of the dishes was noodle based) and asked for another cup of rice. We were charged $2.00 for the second cup of rice. The rice is tasty, but I don't necessarily value a cup of plain jasmine rice at $2.00.
    I will definitely return to try more dishes, I hope this place survives because they put obvious effort in to making the restaurant beautiful and have a desire to please the customer.

    1. Made my 3rd trip to Ploy Siam the other day. I had a nice experience the first 2 times. However, after this 3rd visit I will NOT be going back. The place was maybe a 1/4 full at 7:30. I ordered a jasmine tea and was brought a cup of hot water with a regular Lipton tea bag. We should have left at this point. We ordered 4 dishes to share. Thai Spring Rolls came out cold. Our soup was hot and nicely spiced, however she didn't bring out bowls to split the soup between the two of us, so we had to share the bowl. Our seafood penang curry was very mild even though we ordered it to be a 4 out of 5 for spicyness. And it was barely room temperature. Out Dancing Duck dish was cooked nicely, but again, barely room temperature and mild when we ordered spicy. Even the rice was cold!

      With service like this, I can't see them being open much longer.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pm_fan

        pm_fan, I hear ya!

        The first time I went there was in early December 2010, and it was great! We got the Golden Bags appetizer, which was lovely-- a fried tofu outer skin, the inside was ground shrimp and crab meat with some vegetable, and a lovely plum sauce on the side. My dining companion got the Hor Muk (seafood), which was divine and I got the Basil Duck, which was perfectly crispy and juicy, and just at the right level of spice (I asked for 3 out of 5, because I'm not a big spice fan). Service was excellent.

        Now, this time, I brought 2 people, on Saturday, January 16, 2011 to have dinner. We were seated at around 7:45pm. And the service was the worst I'd ever had. This was the first time in my extensive (dining) life that I have ever given a $0 tip.

        The restaurant was 2/3 full, and after being seated for 15 minutes, there was no sign of any waiter taking our order. We tried eye contact, we tried waving. No luck. So I got up, and approached the hostess standing at the entrance to the seating area and asked her to get our waiter. We put our order in, and we ordered 2 sets of the Golden Bags, because we'd really liked it from last time. They arrived after about 15 minutes. They were exquisite, though, so we forgot much of our earlier annoyance.

        But then, we noticed that people who'd been seated far earlier than we had been, who hadn't even had their order taken, and they were bugging out! (Not that I blame them!) Several got up and left. Others complained, but seemed to be given very vague excuses and apologies.

        We were pretty tired after a long day (we had a houseguest and we'd been walking all over campus and other areas), so we decided to stay.

        It turned out, we waited 1hr 35 minutes between the time when our appetizers came and when our entrees came.

        The reasons behind this? (1) Ploy Siam clearly prioritizes the takeout business. 7-10 takeout customers had been given their food in that time that we waited for our entrees. (2) Waiters are avoidant and maitre d' and hostess don't bother to say anything to patrons. Waiters also had no sense of priority-- a table of 6 who'd been done eating for 20 minutes and who had been waving to try to get their check were ignored so the waiter could go and clean a table that had been vacated by some other group. (3) Waiters knew people were pissed, so they didn't even come by to fill anybody's glasses-- they were totally avoiding eye contact. (4) Waiters were inefficient-- there was a party of 4 in the corner, and there were 2 waiters doubling up to take their orders, after they waited for 30 minutes! You don't need 2 waiters to take the orders of a party of 4.

        What did the remaining patrons do? We warned anybody who came in and sat near us about what was happening. Many left. I saw a couple bail out after waiting 30 minutes for their appetizer (which never came.) Another couple left, possibly without paying, because the waiters were so avoidant.

        So the food finally arrived-- my two dining companions ordered Pad Tamarind Beef (which was excellent), great balance of flavors highlighting, but rounding out the tamarind, and Pad Asparagus Chicken (they had to sub broccoli b.c. they ran out of Asparagus*, but it was quite tasty, too), and my favorite Basil Duck, which was as perfect as the last time. We got up to pay, and we decided to give a zero tip, because the waiters were so avoidant and didn't give us any water for well over an hour (we had to get up out of our seats and literally tap one on the shoulder to get water.) Even a simple-- "hi, we're having a minor problem in the kitchen tonight, so things will be delayed by N minutes" would have been APPRECIATED. And filling our waters would have earned some goodwill, but their flagrant ignoring of patrons really earned our ire.

        Moral of the story-- don't dine there. If you absolutely must go there (because I will admit, the food is excellent), do takeout only.

      2. We went here a few months back on the recommendation from someone in town that we don't know. Delorenzo's was absolutely packed, so we came here, and it was a cluster. The restaurant was relatively dead, and the service was fine. Zelda's dish was good, but I ordered the Pad Thai, and I kid ya not, it smelled like the dry food that we feed our cats. It had that exact same smell that you have when you un zip and open the bag of cat food. Horrible comparison, but totally accurate. I couldn't get past it, and at that point, I was absolutely disgusted and didn't even try to send it back.

        I actually got some flack on our blog that I did the restaurant some serious injustice by not sending it back and saying something. Maybe I did, but at that point, i just wanted to get out of there as I was disgusted. We ended up going down the street at getting our stuffed crust fix at Pizza Hut. -mJ