April 10, 2013

From Takeout to Dining Out: Tamarind Triumphs

Print More

I’ve ordered takeout from Tamarind Thai dozens of times. My roommates and I always go with the standard favorites: spring rolls, Pad See Ew and chicken fried rice. The spring rolls are exquisitely flaky and crunchy on the outside, with a delicious filling of bean threads, carrots and other vegetables,  served with a sauce that is sweet at first but has a wonderfully spicy kick at the end. The Pad See Ew is my all-time favorite: a combination of long, flat noodles, the meat of your choice and broccoli, all mixed in a sweet soy sauce. Lastly, the fried rice is accompanied by egg, tomato, onions, Chinese broccoli and cucumber and is very flavorful, with hints of pepper and ginger. Best of all, this food is always delivered hot. Tamarind is prompt and efficient in its delivery service, which is perhaps why I’ve never felt the need to venture to the restaurant itself.

For this article, however, I did. Not only had I never been to Tamarind before, I didn’t even know where it was. Perfect for a date, the inside of Tamarind Thai Restaurant, on Meadow Street, is small and cozy, but not overcrowded. The lighting is low and soft jazz music plays over the speakers, creating a calming atmosphere.

For an appetizer, we ordered the butterfly shrimp. The shrimp themselves were delicious — tipped in panko bread crumbs and fried in batter, they were crisp and crunchy on the outside, but soft and tender on the inside. The dish was beautifully presented on a jade-green ivy-leaf shaped plate, and the sweet plum sauce served with the dish complemented it beautifully. What truly made the dish a delight, however, was that it was also served with broccoli, green bell pepper, string beans, onions, carrots and baby corn, battered and deep-fried tempura-style. These vegetables were crisp on their batter-fried outsides, and soft — but not overcooked — on the inside. Flavorful and filling, the butterfly shrimp is definitely an appetizer I’m going to start ordering when I get takeout from Tamarind.

For drinks we ordered Thai iced tea and Thai iced coffee — if you want to try some of the best Thai iced tea I’ve ever had, go to Tamarind and ask for Nounou.  As our server, she was almost as sweet as the tea she made, and extremely prompt and capable with her service. For entrees we ordered a classic, the Panang curry, as well as Pad Priew Wan, or “Sweet and Sour.” Tamarind is part of the growing trend of restaurants that lets diners choose their spiciness level; they have a scale from 1-5. A warning: we ordered our curry at a “2”, and it was still very spicy — and I’m not a spiciness baby. The Pad Priew Wan, on the other hand, was definitely more ‘sweet’ than ‘sour’, bordering on a touch too sweet. So we had a revelation: mixed together, the sweetness of the chicken Pad Priew Wan toned down the spiciness of the beef Panang curry, and vice versa. I don’t know how comfortable you are about mixing your own foods, but the mixture of these two dishes was exquisite. The mixture of the chicken, stir-fried pineapple chunks, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and bell peppers in the Pad Priew Wan and the beef, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves in the Panang Curry made the combination of these dishes diverse and flavorful.

While we passed up on dessert, Tamarind has an assortment of desserts including Roti with sweet condensed milk and fried ice cream. Overall, Tamarind Thai is a wonderful place to have a relaxing meal with friends or a romantic date — with delicious food, a wonderful atmosphere, friendly and efficient servers and relatively low prices, it’s hard to go wrong.

Original Author: Emily Foster