Siam Orchid- Gilbert AZ Northeast corner of Gilbert and Guadelupe Roads
Returning to somewhere that has a fond place in your memory can be a treacherous proposition. In the rosy glow of nostalgia, everything is seen as better than it was. I loved the house I grew up in, but when I went back I can see all the cracks in the shutters, the tiles on the roof not quite aligned after all the hail punched through, the faded paint on the fence and the siding of my Minnesotan home, pummeled for 30 years. Coming back, there's that voice in the back of your mind that says Stop! - don't ruin something great. I kinda wish I had listened in regards to my childhood home. Of course, with food, you want to share your experiences, so in recommending somewhere you do have to re-examine your judgment if it's been awhile.
This restaurant is a mom and dad operation, and at one point their daughter was a server/cashier nearly 5 years ago, the last time I was there. The decor is lovely, with a very light pink coloring on the walls, and some bolder Thai decorations in the form of a huge screen, Buddha figurine and a small shrine in the center rear of the restaurant. There are a bunch of Thailand tourism guides and brochures in the corner too, which makes for nice reading material during a meal. I bring up the 5 years because after I ordered my favorite roast duck curry incarnation, pin poy brought out her husband ( sorry, name escapes me ) and said I knew he was going to order this dish! We shared some nice laughs, caught up, she explained about the only change I noticed, which is that the eastern wall is covered with drawings from the children of her customers. With anyone that oozed a hint of smarmy character it wouldn't work, but these two are so genuine that it's very endearing.
I wrote all that because I do think that a when thinking about a great restaurant, one's experience is not exclusive to the food. You can have great food but still retain a poor experience due to inattentiveness, surroundings that make you want to cry, cleanliness, etc. Of course, you can't have a great restaurant experience without great food, so I'm ecstatic to say I was not let down in that arena either. I had the everlastingly popular and delicious roast duck curry, which had a great sized portion of sliced duck, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, grape in a red curry sauce garnished with mint on top. It hit all the right notes in terms of sweetness ( a hint ), spiciness ( background but constantly aware of ), and savoriness. My only quibble is that I wasn't thrilled with the amount of rice that came with it, but then again I sometimes am accused of mistaking rice for air as I inhale both all day. I also had the coconut ice cream which came ringed with crushed peanuts for a soothing ending to a great meal. I also want to mention that all the food is presented beautifully, with the curry holder, rice bowl, plate to mix ingredients, ice cream, all having distinctive containers.
Accompanying my meal I had a pot of jasmine tea 1.95, nothing special but tasty. The roast duck curry is 11.95, which is about right. This isn't one of those you get two meals sized portions, but I am 5'9'' and weigh 240 lbs, and didn't leave hungry. They gave me a free desert, but the normal price for the coconut ice cream is 2.95.
The only shortcoming I have to mention is the wait time- the service is unfailingly kind, focused, and engaging but it does take awhile to get your food, probably 15 minutes for mine.
This is the kind of place where you will love the food, and feel the care put into it. The fears of nostalgia have vanished, and I'm planning to make as many new memories as I can, and invite you to as well!
50 E Guadelupe Road
Gilbert AZ 85234
50 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234