Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nam Thai (Itaim Bibi)

Nam Thai
Rua Manuel Guedes, 444
Itaim Bibi

As far as I know, there isn't a huge Thai population in SP. Which is unfortunate, b/c I love Thai food! The rich, intense, and explosive flavors of Thai food just don't exist in Brazilian cuisine, so I couldn't wait to experience different tastes for a change. I had heard from folks that Thai food in SP was expensive, but really, it's not that much more than you would spend in any other upscale restaurant...and until there is a dive-y Thai place in SP, the fancy place will have to do.

Again, another case of the restaurant itself being really modern and beautiful. There's a bar and a small seating area where you can wait for your table. There's a also a private-ish back room where we ended up sitting with our table of 8. We felt like we were having our own little dinner party, which was great, but it also might have been nice to feel the energy and buzz of the main room.

While we went during Restaurant Week, the menu was quite limited, and since it was a special occasion, we were ready to splurge a little and order off the actual menu. We started out with what they called "Dim Sum" on the menu, but were really just dumplings. No different than any gyoza dumplings you would get a sushi rodizio, and at 8 reals for 2 of them, not really worth it.

Janhavi and split 2 dishes...Pad Thai w/Shrimp (the dish by which I pretty much judge all Thai restaurants...if they can't do that, what CAN they do????), and Beef Massaman. I was shocked at how big the portions were! We could barely finish both dishes between the two of us, and I think we did so only because we felt so guilty leaving the food on the plate with all its glorious flavor! We did have to ask for lots of extra white rice (not a standard accompaniment in these parts, I guess) to soak up the sauce. The Massaman was extremely flavorful and rich, although I do wish it had more potatoes and carrots along with the beef. The Pad Thai was good with a little lime on top, and while it wasn't the BEST Pad Thai I have ever had, it totally passed the test. Again, it was a joy to have those flavors again!

Cristina had the Tom Kha Soup (again, a dish by which I judge an entire restaurant). Extremely flavorful, but did not appear to be strained in any way from all of the bits you DON'T eat in the soup. Probably something you would want to share rather than eat an entire bowl -- definitely big enough to do so!

All in all, Nam Thai gave me hope for non-Japanese Asian food in this city. I am anxious to try other places to compare and report back.

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