Chada Thai & Wine

March 5, 2015
Folks have been singing the praises of Chada Thai & Wine for two years strong, it seems to be quite the hit with Chefs and gourmands alike. I was happy when friends suggested we meet there for dinner. Pulling into the strip mall, you wouldn't expect anything special beyond Chada's door, but you're in for quite a surprise. The decor is sexy with dark woods, crimson accents, dim lighting and a wall of wines. The list of Rieslings go on for days, "Chada Thai & Riesling" could very well be appropriate. You'd expected nothing less from Bank Atcharawan at the helm, who gained fame as former sommelier at Lotus of Siam.

Don't sweat it if you're not a fan of Riesling, there are whites, reds, beers, and sake to choose from. The menu specializes in Southern Thai cuisine, with a focus on seafood. It's a little overwhelming at first, but our group settled on Pad Hed, mushrooms with brussels sprouts ($8), Spicy Herb Fresh Roll ($8), Por Pia Tod, vegetable egg roll ($6), Pou Nim Ma Karm, crispy soft shell crab with tamarind ($19), Shrimp Pad See Eiw ($10), Chicken Pad Kee Mao ($8), and Chicken Pad Thai ($8).

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We thought we'd try a mix of unique dishes and standard Thai fare. The seafood dishes were better than those with chicken. The brussels sprouts were a bit soggy and I anticipated bold flavor, but it didn't deliver. The fresh roll, on the other hand was bursting with zing from the ginger. The shame of it, was that it was so potent it overshadowed the other ingredients. The vegetable roll was crispy and on point. Overall, I was disenchanted with our choices. The sum of the parts didn't tally up to a memorable meal. Perhaps, I should have been more adventurous or maybe we caught them on an off night. Service was quite sluggish too. When competition is as fierce as it is in Chinatown it's hard to forgive these shortcomings.

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