Editor’s Note: This was originally published in the April 2010 issue.
Suddenly it seems as if pad Thai and spring rolls are the new roast beef and mashed potatoes. You can’t throw a pot sticker in Hyde Park or Oakley without hitting a restaurant that serves them. Are we drawn to the allure of health that’s associated with Asian cuisine—a myth drowned in the deep fryer? Who knows. Siam Orchid, which last year relocated from Alexandria to the main drag of über-quaint Bellevue, isn’t exactly new on the scene, but they do serve the familiar mix of fried noodles or rice with your choice of protein and veggies. Unfortunately, the dishes we sampled missed the mark. The Siam crispy duck—sliced and deep-fried and served with rice and a scattering of veggies—was dry and chewy and mysteriously flavored with something that smacked of anise. The house salad consisted mainly of pale iceberg lettuce coated with a dark peanut-y paste that worked much better with the tasty chicken satay appetizer. The chicken pad Thai, a hearty serving of noodles and shredded chicken infused with the usual egg-peanuts-bean-sprouts blend, fell squarely in the middle spectrum of pad Thais I have known. Don’t get me wrong: as a friendly, independently owned restaurant, I wish Siam Orchid success. The server was prompt and focused in spite of his lone watch over the crowded dining room, and the place adds a welcome gastro-diversity to central Bellevue (which seems to be rewarded with a brisk carryout business). But in a growing Pan-Asian marketplace, Siam Orchid might want to reboot just one more time.
Siam Orchid, 511 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 694-7700