A typical assumption is that beyond a certain range of the center of the city, upscale dining becomes something of a farce. While upscale chains do tend to dominate the suburban landscape, Amarind’s tiny castle of a restaurant is still nestled inside the western border of the city, and is definitely one of a kind. Chef Rangsan Sutcharit received his training at 4-star Arun, and has kept much of the flair and flavor of the food for a fraction of the price.
With an unassuming bar and aisle leading to a backroom of no more than 15 tables, one is not blown away by the interior. However, the statues, paintings and screens in the restaurant give a pleasant ambiance, and the wait staff is immediately ready to take your drinks. The Thai iced tea gets points for tasting like actual tea underneath the cream – often a rarity. The appetizers are worth ordering en masse – the crispy golden cups are an excellent flavor balance of shrimp, shitake mushrooms, corn, carrot and sweet peas, and the decorative pancake has just a bit of cleansing heat with sweet peppers, scallions and ginger (both are $7).
The entrees cover all the typical Thai bases, with a few more seafood options than you might expect – squid, prawn, catfish, and no less than five red snapper dishes, all $13-14).
For the meats, the three-flavor chicken truly shows off Sutcharit’s skills – the Thai herbs and veggies mixed with cashews and fried collard greens leaves mix together for a very pleasing variety of tastes and textures.
The deserts are cheap and small, just to tempt you for that one last bite. Even if you’re stuffed, you should think about splitting the mung bean custard for $4 – it’s a satisfying custard with a light taste that should end your meal and experience quite nicely.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge