November 12, 2011
Yet again, here is another recommendation for a delicious dinner the next time you’re itching for a night out. Keeping with the Asian theme, this week was Thai. (I promise, next time will be a different type of cuisine – I’m thinking some kind of Mediterranean!). The spot? Ziree Thai on Atlantic Ave in Delray Beach, FL. The restaurant came as recommended by my friend’s boss and I couldn’t have been happier with her suggestion! Most Thai restaurants have a Japanese section on their menu, but we strictly went to this place for Thai and actually stuck to it, despite being sushi-lovers. When we got there at 7, it was quiet. We made a reservation, but there was no wait when we arrived. But by the time we left around 8:30 or so, it was pretty full. The atmosphere was comfortable and the staff was really friendly and personable. Case in point: I’m not a fan of spicy food so when I ordered I must have asked our waiter 3 or 4 times if she was sure my dish wasn’t too hot. She assured me it wasn’t, but when the food runner brought it out he announced the dish as “Spicy Scallop Pad Kee Moa” and then starting cracking up. Ha, very funny!!
Onto our meal…
I started with a simple salad, just lettuce, carrots and tomato, in a ginger dressing. They brought out a peanut dressing, as well, but I didn’t think it paired as well with the salad – plus I justlove ginger dressing and couldn’t pass that up! My dining partner got soup, and ordered it extra spicy – so much so that when I tried a sip of it my head almost exploded. The flavor was amazing, but it was just way too hot for my liking. The soup was Shrimp Tom Yum and was a hot and sour lemongrass soup with mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes.
It took us literally one second to decide what we wanted to get as an appetizer: fried calamari with a sweet chili sauce! These were the largest calamari pieces I’ve ever seen in a restaurant, and there weren’t any of the “spidery” ones you sometimes get on the plate. They were really lightly fried, too, so there wasn’t an overpowering taste of batter and you could really get to the calamari with each bite. The sauce was really good too. Not too much spice and just enough sweet.
Our entrees were equally as good as our appetizer and starters and pretty much solidified our opinion of the place as a great find. My friend got the Volcano Chicken: crispy chicken on a bed of mixed vegetables and topped with a “volcano sauce.” I was expecting the sauce to be pretty spicy when I tried it, but it wasn’t too bad. It had a kick to it, and one bite was enough for my taste-test, but it wasn’t as volcanic as I would have imagined it to be – which makes it better in my book! The chicken’s crispy skin was good too. That usually is the part of a dish I’ll stay away from, but since it was just a small taste I had to try it out, and I was happy I did.
I got Pad Kee Mao with scallops and absolutely loved it! I usually go for the regular Pad Thai dish when I go out for Thai – you know, the standard rice noodle with egg, ground peanuts, bean sprout and scallions – so I wanted to try something different this time. This dish included wide rice noodles, onions, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas and basil leaves sautéed in a chili paste (now you can see why I was a little worried about the spice level). The flavor of the chili paste was actually kind of subtle, especially mixed with the basil and all the vegetables and scallops. I was extremely satisfied with my choice and enjoyed every bite of it. The wide rice noodles tasted better to me than regular rice noodles, I’m not sure if they’re cooked any differently or if there is much of a difference in them at all, but I liked them better for some reason.
Then came the best part of the meal: dessert! I always glance over dessert menus at Asian restaurants but rarely ever order from it. We got two different desserts and shared them – devoured them is more like it. We got green tea ice cream…loved that! I love green tea, hot or cold and I’ve had it in the form of frozen yogurt and water ice and loved it both ways, so why wouldn’t I love it as ice cream, too? It was creamy, but not too heavy. The second dessert we ordered was beautiful and it pained me to even eat it (but there was no way I wouldn’t have!) Fried bananas with vanilla ice cream. Just look at how beautiful the presentation of this dish is! Everything about this dessert was decadent and delicious. I loved scooping some of the vanilla ice cream with a little whipped cream and chocolate syrup on top of one of the fried bananas and biting right into it.
My final words of advice: Do not leave Ziree Thai without ordering the Fried Bananas as the perfect ending to your meal.