In a tiny little strip next to the Rochelle Park Shop-Rite was a great little Thai restaurant called Siam Ruby Cafe. It was an unusual place, basically looking like the tiny luncheonette it was in a past life. But the food was great and so were the prices.
Well, I am VERY happy to let everyone know that Siamy Ruby has reopened as Ruby Siam - New owner, new menu, still great prices. In fact, as good as the old Siam Ruby was, I think that this new incarnation may be even better.
The place still looks like a micro diner inside, but everything else is different. The menu, while still not nearly as extensive as a place like Wondee's, does seem to have a bit more variety and sense of adventure than the old menu. I tried an awesome appetizer called Bua Thai Beef. It was tiny strips of beef fried in chili flakes (or something like that) served with chili sauce. It wasn't a lot for $5.95, but it was absolutely delicious.
I also tried some chicken Tom Yum soup. This may have been the best version of the soup I ever had. (But I'm no Thai food expert.) The owner asked me how hot I wanted it. I said make it hot, but don't kill me. He said, on a scale of 1 to 10, about a 7? I said that sounds good. (I told the owner I would have said 9, but that I figured the Thai tongue was a bit stronger than my American tongue. He laughed and agreed.)
Boy, 7 was the bullseye. Spicy and hot (for weak Americans), but not enough to induce tears or set your tongue on fire. The soup had a great red color and loads of flavor. And at $3.95 for a pint, very reasonable.
I also got some chicken Pad Thai. It was great, but seemed to be a pinch more "sour" than other versions of the dish I've had (maybe some extra tamarind or lime?). It was still great, and at $8, a bargain. (Beef and pork are available for $8 too, shrimp is $2 more.) The pad thai also had some thin red pepper strips in it, which I haven't seen before.
The owner was incredibly friendly and gracious, even offering me a soda while I waited for the food (I politely declined) and giving me a slight discount for paying in cash. We chatted a bit about Thai food and other things.
Total for two orders of chicken pad thai, tom yum soup, and the bua thai beef, about $25.
The only strange thing about this place is that they seem to close from 3 PM - 5PM every day. I asked the owner about this, and he said if I wanted to get something during that time, to just knock on the door. (I would feel very funny doing that though.) Hopefully if business is good enough they'll expand their hours.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give this place a chance. They are very conveniently located, the food is delicious, and the prices are great on most items. The owner is a great guy too. I was crestfallen when the old Siam Ruby closed, but I'm glad that a new incarnation is back and better than before! Please keep them in business! We can't afford to lose this place again!
Ruby Siam Cafe
184 W. Passaic Street
Rochelle Park, NJ