Fancy Be Damned

Madrona Drops Upscale Bistros for Unpretentious Thai Food


What is it with lettuce wraps using iceberg lettuce? Why not use butter or red leaf that can actually be folded and rolled without breaking and has some nutritional value.
@1 Iceberg is crunchy and juicy and stays cold, so it's a good match with spicy, hot food as a wrap. The amount of nutrition you would get from 4-5 leaves of floppy, dry butter or red leaf lettuce isn't worth the compromise. Iceberg has its place - not in salads, but in a Thai wrap platter, yes.
Dead on with your assessment of why the other Madrona restaurants flopped. The Hi Spot has the price point for the neighborhood figured out and it's about time another restaurant caught on. I hope Naam Thai makes it. The food is delicious.
I tried this restaurant three times soon after it opened. No more. Despite my careful, repeated, pleading, they refuse to make the food "Thai hot." I sent food back and it didn't make any difference. They smile at you, nod, and ignore your order.

You know, there's a problem. Last time I ate there, there was a family seated next to me with two small children. The parents told the waitperson they wanted absolutely NO SPICE in their food-- because of the children! WHY THE HELL ARE THEY TAKING BABIES TO A THAI RESTAURANT?!? When a hot dog and chocolate milk is what they really want? I see what Thai restaurants are up against.

A food writer in LA carries a card around with him with this written on it in Thai: "I know I am an American, but please make the food as hot as I ask for." Can anyone get me one of those cards??
It takes an awful lot of energy to be a pretentious twit.

Go there, eat and have a nice time, and don't worry about wanting to be authentic - whatever that means.....
Hey "meun umsik," I like your name (Korean for "spicy food"). I live in Korea and frequently travel to other Asian countries, including Thailand.

I have the same problem when I go to Thai places in The States. I tell them I like spicy food, I tell them that I live in Asia and CAN handle it, and still they invariably "whitey it down" for me.

I have a Thai friend who I'll get to make those cards.

I just tell them I'm from Texas. Usually gets me real spicy food.
Naam's got the price point figured out for sure even though things could be $1 cheaper but its all good. They figured out--quality and price bring in volume, and with that you can make a ton of dough--not even counting the alcohol that people buy there 1-2 beers or mixed drinks per table adds up to a shit ton of profit for a restaurant like that over the course of 30 days. hell draft beers alone are so profitable its ridiculous.

Hooray for Naam, let's see who plows into Cremant and can turn Madrona into a little more of a CD oasis.

I never worry much about the hot/spicy factor. Almost any Thai place has a little tray of pepper powder, chilies in fish sauce etc., that you can just ask for. When the food shows just jack it up & you're good to go. Isn't that far better than trying to play "how many stars" hit-or-miss with the kitchen?
"...iceberg lettuce? Why not use butter or red leaf that can actually be folded and rolled without breaking and has some nutritional value..."

Actually, iceberg lettuce contains a blood purifier not found in any other food. I would call that a valuable nutrient
I love Naam's Miang Kham ($8.95), using Thai Betel leaves, dried shrimp, fresh ginger, lime and ooh! That sauce! OOH!
This appetizer is so fabulous I can see why they run out as quick as they do.
I recommend calling ahead and asking them if they are serving Miang Kham that day and possibly pre-ordering it for when you arrive.
If you haven't had the pleasure of trying this unique dish, you are in for a very tastey treat when you do.
I reccommend ordering something new everytime you go there until you've had everything on the menu at least once!
Only at Naam can you find a fabulous seafood dish for under $13!
They also serve my favorite desert, absolutely refreshing, coconut ice cream!
With so many return customers, they are sure to become a community staple.
See You There!
Dominic, I too totally agree with your characterization. As a local Madrona neighbor I was thrilled to see a non-pretentious restarant in this spot. Yes, there's a lot of money in Madrona but there's a lot of us who are just house-lucky. It was really disappointing to see the succession of pretentious restaurants (Plenty, Surpeme, Coupage, Cremant, etc) come and go. Most of us ate there once, or occasionally, when we could afford it. Then no more-- certainly not frequently. What we've really wanted all along is a "regular" restaurant we can patronize frequently without breaking the bank, serving dependable tasty food. Naam has nailed it, and their food is quite respectable.

I'm hoping somebody figures that out for the space that housed Cremant, too. A casual French place (as opposed to a pissy one) would be a it.
#4... #9 has a good idea. i lived in thailand for a few years, and they usually will have spice on the side for your personal taste. cold dishes like green papaya salad should have a lot of fresh chilis already mashed up in the dish, but ask for "prik nahm plaa" for fresh hot chilis in fish sauce with garlic. this is a very delicious way to add spice to your meal, specifically in fried rice dishes. curry and pat thai usually uses the dried chilis. but don't let them skimp on the fresh ones!

my thai is uber rusty but you could try this on a card: ภัต เผ็ด. ขอบคุณ. (spicy food! thanks!)