Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Siam Thai Rochester, NY

Restaurant Review by Jennifer Kumar.

Update July 7, 2009
We visited on July 4, 2007. We, again sat outside. It was a pleasant day.

We were impressed as when we asked about different menu items that were not vegetarian or vegan, they were willing to make it vegan, by substituting tofu or vegetables. They also made the pad thai vegan by taking out the egg and using a non-meat based peanut sauce (I never realized it had meat or fish products in it...).

We really enjoyed our meal of fresh veggie rolls with peanut sauce, Tom Kah veggie soup (which, we were told by our Malayalee cousin, reminded him of Olan, a coconut based potato dish in Kerala), and together we three shared a dish of pad thai.

We were impressed with the service, flexibility of menu ingredients an service. We actually believe the customer service has much improved and gained a stronger personality as this establishment now is evolving it's own identity. We will surely visit again.

Originial Review date - April 26, 2008
Today we went to Siam Thai in Corn Hill near to the courthouse in downtown Rochester, New York.

The buildings that house the restaurant are in a new community- apartments on the top and businesses on the ground floor. There are few other eateries and some small shops on the ground floor. Many places, including Siam open only 11 or after. Parking can also be challenging in this area, though as we were coming at a down time (around 1pm), parking was ample.

It's interesting that 1pm on a Saturday is a downtime, but it seems working day hours (9a-5p Mon-Fri) are more crowded. But the good news is that the weather was perfect, again, and we were able to be seated outside with a view of the Genesee River and the walking trail.

For appetisers, we ordered the Papaya Madness Salad and Tofu with Peanut Sauce. The Papaya Madness salad was VERY tasty, bursting of many flavors, spicy, colorful and good to the last drop, but I did not see one papaya in it! The tofu and peanut sauce was equally tasty in a different way.

Our main courses, however, left a desire for something different. Unlike the salad bursting of taste, the Pad Thai and Pad See Eau left our palates wondering where did all the taste go? The presentation of the Pad Thai in itself was not appetizing. The noodles were a hue of a weird orange color, with little tofu and few peanuts. Where was the peanut sauce? In fact, where was the taste? With additional green chili water and soy sauce, there still was absolutely no taste. The Pad See Eau was better in the sense that there was a variety of vegetables in it, but there was still no taste to be found even with added condiments.

In the middle of our meal, it started raining heavily. We moved to an empty table with an umbrella. We moved and the waitress came to help us only 10-15 minutes after the move and the rain calmed down. What's up with the service? We left minimal tip.

We may be tempted to go back to try the appetisers and soups, but would stay clear of main dishes. We did like the ambiance- sitting outside on the Gennesee River. We did not like the service or the price. For our two appetisers, one Thai Iced Tea (which had that same weird orange hue as the Pad Thai) and two main dishes with tip it came to $40.00. We know of another restaurant in Webster (Rochester suburbs) where a good Thai lunch with appetisers and main meals come to less than $20 with tip.

Two side notes:

1. The bathrooms inside were very clean and modern.

2. I have another comment. The first Pad Thai I ever at was at a restaurant in Boston- actually the suburbs of Boston. I have measured every Pad Thai to date based on that Pad Thai and nothing has measured up. If only I could remember the name of the restaurant....

To visit/contact
Siam Fine Thai Cuisine
280 Exchange Blvd
Rochester, NY 14608
(585) 232-7426
Directions to Siam Fine Thai Cuisine

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Applebee’s, Fairport, NY

Vegetarian Restaurant Review by Jennifer Kumar.

Meet and Greet

Entering on a Christmas Eve afternoon, we were immediately greeted and sat in the bar area.

Mise en Scène
This Applebee’s like any other Applebee’s we have visited was set up in a typical Applebee’s fashion. The bar flooring area is ‘sunken’ a few feet lower than general seating that surrounds three sides of the bar area. The bar area also generally has ‘high tables’ with tall chairs with additional seating at the bar. The seating encircling the bar is comprised of regular tables and chairs or booth seating. As usual, the seating area is spacious, clean and inviting.

**We did not have to use restrooms, so no comment on that ambiance!

Choosing a Veggie Treat

Actually, for vegetarians there are not many straight forward vegetarian options. Lunch time has a nice menu with combo choices of vegetarian soups (cream of mushroom or tomato basil) with salad or sandwich (only vegetarian sandwich is a BLT grilled cheese- without the “B” or bacon). Other than this, in the meal menu, there are pasta entries that are listed default with meat ingredients. Most of these possibly can be made without the meat, but have yet to try that order. We like the ‘burger’ choices here as the regular size burger sandwiches can all be substituted with veggie burgers. Keep this tip in mind as the burger options are interesting. On this trip we received the quesadilla burger (remember to ask to omit the bacon in the cheese spread) and the cowboy burger (without the bacon). We have had the quesadilla burger and find this to be a unique option, as we have not had this at any other restaurant. Though we are quite certain to have the quesadilla burger again, this is not so true with the cowboy burger. Though overall the taste of the cowboy burger was tempting, the bar-be-que sauce was very distracting, especially for us that don’t prefer the smoky smell or taste of bar-be-que. We did not get the bruschetta burger, though we have in the past and highly recommend this as it has a fresh and addicting taste.

We did order an appetizer, the potato skin sans bacon. The potato skins were good, but bland. Would have been nice to have it as a nachos dish, topped with jalapeños and beans or have something crunchy on top, like diced red onions.

They did not have hot sauce as a condiment, though did mix ‘wing sauce’ for us, which was tasty and fulfilled the spice requirement, but had a texture and smell that was a little odd for me as it did remind me of chicken wings so I did not eat much of it.

Additionally, as I occasionally enjoy a mixed drink, I did try the pomegranate margarita on this visit. It was very tasty as it was mixed with POM brand pomegranate juice. It was so tasty and fruity that we neither noticed the strong taste of the alcohol or the bitterness of pomegranate juice. They seemed to balance and ‘even each other’ out. I recommend this drink to anyone who likes margarita sans salt.

See Applebee’s Menu

Checking In

Our waiter was attentive and very friendly. Though it was quite busy, he attended to us timely and refilled our drinks as required.

See you later

No concerns here, bill was received by us and paid in a timely fashion.

Pay Scale

$16-20 per person (1 appetizer, 1 coffee, 1 mixed drink and 2 main meals)

Tips 10-15% I think we gave closer to 12-13%

Star System

Overall 3.5/5

Though we appreciate the flexibility of the menu to create vegetarian options out of non-vegetarian ones and the ability to omit meat ingredients to do the same, we often find it challenging to choose a menu item. We like to come to Applebee’s because of the appetizers, ambiance and service, but we always come in with a hesitation as we know, as vegetarians, that finding a tasty option is a little challenging.

To find/Contact

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar

585 Moseley Rd
Fairport, NY 14450

(585) 425-4700‎

Get directions: To here - From here

Notes: I have also eaten at these locations with similar feedback: Pittsford Plaza, Penfield (Webster), Rochester (Irondequoit), Paddy Creek Circle (Rochester/ Greece), Cortland, NY

Notes: One reason we have tried so many locations is due to getting a ‘free’ gift card to Applebee’s when purchasing the special car wash coupon packet from Delta Sonic.

Review based on October 2008 visit.

Have you eaten at Applebee’s? If so, please share your thoughts below.

Thank you for reading!