First, many thanks to RGR for suggesting Sawadee over Mei Thai. This was a great meal and one which swayed my opinion on Thai. Frankly, I've always disliked the cuisine b/c it is always too sweet and rarely has much flavor or heat. On the Manhattan board, folks rave (and then don't) about Pam Real Thai, which I've never liked at all. I thought Sawadee blew that out of the water and wonder how Sawadee stacks up in people's opinions to Sripraphrai?
Anyway, enough preliminary blah blah blahing. We only ordered entrees, b/c we figured we'd had many of those apps before and never loved them (i think i'd order a few next time!). We had four entrees and I think the waitress was shocked to see two women order that much! But, we wanted to sample widely. I can't remember the exact names of the dishes, but we had:
Chicken with Tamarind Sauce--the one dish the waitress said was sweetish. I asked when we ordered to make sure nothing was sweet. This had a fair amount of fish sauce flavor, which masked the tamarind, i thought, and I liked this dish least, in fact it was the one we had the most leftovers of.
Chicken Larb: lots of bright lime and cilantro flavors, one of my favorites of the night. Fish sauce was not overpowering, but rather on the subtle side. This was pretty hot, but we had requested Medium. More on that below...
Mussaman Curry with pumpkin, tofu, carrots, peanuts, onion. This was the first time EVER that this dish was not cloyingly sweet, in fact the only notes of sweetness came from the pumpkin! Loved this.
Calamari sauteed in a sauce with chilis and onions. The onions were so finely sliced that I first thought it was green papaya. I liked this dish, perhaps the most firey of them all. I prefer the calamari to be charred, but I knew, going in, that these were sauteed. No hint of rubberyness, rather, a perfect texture soft, but not mushy, a bit of bite but not chewy. My second favorite.
Spicyness: there's an explanation on the first page of the menu, which details their rankings of fireyness. They distinctly tell you that flavor will exist in all dishes and that when you're ordering spicyness, you are talking about heat. We, fearing white-man-hot, were tempted to order Hot. Good thing we went with Medium (after asking the couple next to us, who said even the Medium was a bit painful on some dishes!). Medium was plenty hot, and we do enjoy heat--much sinus clearing, shall we say, ensued.
Even though this is about 40min from home, I'd go back! It only ran us $55 for one beer each, four entrees, and tip and tax.