the other day i gave my girlfriend a ride to the airport (NJ-bound). since her plane was departing around 10:30, we decided to hit up siam on broadway for a tasty pre-flight meal. her fiance dislikes most asian food (though sushi is a new and surprising development!) and hates thai most of all. though recently engaged, dining is probably their one point of contention: thai, chinese, and japanese are M's absolute favorite cuisines.
M lives on first/cap hill, so siam on broadway is her spot, err, was her spot. we walked up to the joint, engrossed in gossip, and only realized that siam on broadway had gone out of business when i reached for the handle and the door didn't budge. the business hours sign was still on the door, but the interior was devoid of decoration, people, and any evidence of cookware. SHIT! what to do, what to do.
luckily we turned around, and the bright, shiny, newly renovated rom mai thai beckoned us from directly across the street.
since it was a tuesday and on the earlier side for dinner on the hill (7:00), the restaurant only had a few occupied tables (which quickly changed over the course of our meal). the interior is lushly decorated in shades of yellow, emerald screens, maroon tablecloths, and richly carved wood.
rom mai thai's menu is extensive, but M rarely deviates from her tried-and-true tom kha soup and phad thai. unfortunately my camera is kaput, so i asked M to snap some quick pictures, but only after we both destroyed the tom kha. i suppose i'll let you know that it was complex, tangy, spicy, lemongrass-y, and all around bomb. often tom kha is just meat, mushrooms, and green onions, but rom mai thai serves theirs with carrot rounds, broccoli, meat, mushrooms, and zucchini. mmm. refreshing.
moving on...M's phad thai was actually damn good. i'm generally not a fan of phad thai because it's often too sweet or just lacking excitement for me. RMT's had me going back for seconds. the noodles were perfectly al dente so it's not just a blob of soft rice noodles that give too easily. the flavor was just right for me, too...the only thing i would have changed was the chili level, but it was M's dish, not mine :).
since there were so (too?) many items on the menu, i just went with the phad kee mao with tofu. interestingly the server said that the heat system was 1-5 stars (i went conservatively with **** since i'd never been there before), but online it says 1-4!! hmm, indeed.
anyhow, the wide rice noodles are my favorite because they trap pockets of singed sauce in their folds. the tofu had a nice, crispy skin and soft interior. M noted that she's often had tofu that's over-fried and dry on the inside. sounds gross. the tomatoes were a bright contrast to the deep, umami savoriness of the dark soy sauce. there was a nice balance of spice, salt, sweet, and acid. success!
thanks rom mai thai for saving us when we had been craving thai food all day just to find that our planned location had mysteriously gone out of business. looks like M and i will have our thai dinner dates with you from now on. kisses!