Take a good look at the picture above. It represents the dining room at Chada Thai less than one hour into its official opening last Friday night.
You will notice that the room is almost empty. I predict this is one of the last times you will see such a sight.
You will also notice the wine racks are empty. This is another problem that will soon disappear.
Soon enough, those racks will be filled with superior Rieslings at soft and supple prices — the perfect libation to wash down the pungent, highly seasoned and sweet/incendiary spices of great Thai cooking.
Those tables will also be filled with Thai aficionados and lovers of Lotus of Siam who would like the same attention to quality (and ingenious eats) of the original, while maybe experimenting with something a little different (and a little more southern Thai in its orientation), and something a little closer to the west side of the valley.
We worked through eight different courses on opening night, and everyone had a vividness of flavor, and a distinction of spice that you don’t often get in generic Thai restaurants — most of whom settle for the identical spicing of all dishes (varying only the amount of dried chilies they toss into the mix, in order to satisfy that lame 1-10 scale so many of them rely upon to appease the gringos).
Owner Bank Atcharawan never asked us how we wanted things spiced, and some came out with flamethrower intensity (the larb) while others were muted and subtle (like the exemplary strips of rib eye atop a bright and light lime-infused pool of sauce). In other words, you eat the food the way the chef thinks it should be seasoned, but never do the spices overwhelm the other tastes of the dish. (FYI: Bank is as risk-averse as any güero to the “Bangkok-hot,” psychedelically-singeing spices of his homeland, and agrees they generally obliterate your enjoyment of the main ingredient. He’s a wine guy, after all, and wants one half the occasion to compliment the other.)
Speaking of wine, until the license comes through, it’s a BYOB affair here which makes the pricing all the more sweeter. Our dinner for four, with plenty of food — including a pristine brick of sea bass whose freshness I can still taste — came to $100.
That’s $25/person for extraordinary food in a groovy/cool setting, that’s soon to set Thai food freaks (and Riesling regulars) on fire .
Get there now while the gettin’ is good, and before it becomes known as the “Raku of Thai restaurants.”
Then, not even I’m gonna be able to get a seat.
CHADA THAI & WINE
3400 South Jones Blvd. #11A
Las Vegas,NV 89146