Zagat is one of my favorite website for restaurant references. I found the restaurants recommendations in US were much more accurate than the ones in Canada. Anyway, I decided to pay a lunch visit to a popular Thai restaurant Maenam, on 4th Avenue, right opposite to Bistro Bistro. The restaurant was completely empty when we were seated. The decorations were simply and modern, and the lighting was bright for photography.
We decided on a lunch set menu (for more than 2 people only), which included an appetizer, a salad, a stir-fry and a curry dish. For soup, we had the North East Style hot and sour soup of pork. The soup came with a large quantity of assorted mushrooms and parsley. The taste of the soup is quite authentic with a strong taste of fresh red chili and limejuice. The soup is hot and came a fairly big quantity for two people.
The Banana Blossom Salad, the Pad Thai and the Green Curry Beef came to the table at the same time, which surprised me. There was a big gap of time between the soup was finished and all the other dishes were brought up. I wonder why they didn’t serve the salad first so that the table wouldn’t be so crowed and the waiting time wouldn’t be too long. Anyway, the Banana Blossom Salad is a healthy vegetarian salad (called Yum Hua Plee). The cilantros and the dried shrimps went well however, the banana blossoms are deep fried in Maenam, so it is not so healthy anymore.
The green curry beef was authentic in the flavor but the ingredients used in the dish were not very authentic. Bell peppers and lots of gingers were used in the green curry beef in Maenam. In Thailand, eggplants, lime leaves, and hot chili would be used in this dish. After all, the taste was fine with the steamed rice even though the green curry sauce is a little to thick.
Finally we moved on to the Pad Thai. This was the most satisfying dish of the this entire lunch. The rice noodles were chewy and fresh, there were many prawns, tofu and egg in the pad Thai. Both the ingredients and the flavor were authentic. With a splash of lime juice and some (extremely) hot chili pepper, the Pad Thai on its own would be a wonderful lunch.
I ordered the cucumber relish as a side dish. The cucumber was finely chopped and nicely pickled. The only disappointment is that the relish is not spicy at all. I was hoping a hint of spice other than the refreshing taste!
Overall, the restaurant was lower than my expectation. Considering that the lunch should be quick and delicious, it took us eighty minutes to finish the lunch and quality could only be considered as half authentic.