When we first pulled up to Tamarind, located on Meadow Street, I didn’t know what to expect. The small green cinderblock building surrounded on all sides by a parking lot did not match my expectation that Tamarind would be a gaudy restaurant with Thai decorations all over its exterior. However, entering through the two glass doors and leaving the busy street behind, I found myself in a pleasing environment. I immediately took note of the cozy and comfortable atmosphere of the restaurant, augmented by the small plants and paintings that were placed throughout the clean, well-lit facility. We were met by a server who took us to our seats and presented us with the restaurant’s menu. I found the employees to be respectful, and our waitress was warm and friendly.
Having been to Thailand and eaten at Thai restaurants numerous times, Tamarind seemed to have everything that one would expect from a Thai restaurant.. Some of the main courses on the menu included pad see ew, pad kee mao (drunken noodles), a variety of curries, and, of course, the classic peanut and noodle dish, pad Thai. Looking at the menu, I also noticed that Tamarind had a number of choices for meats to add to a dish, including pork, beef, and for vegetarians or vegans, tofu. For appetizers, we selected spring rolls and tod mun (fried fish cakes), and for entrees, we ordered Thai fried rice, pad kee mao, and pad see ew.
When the main dishes arrived, I didn’t hesitate to start eating. Of the food that I tried, some of my favorites included the pad see ew and the pad kee mao. The pad see ew noodles had the signature semi-sweet sauce on them. Although this soy-based sauce was sweet, it wasn’t excessively so; I felt that Tamarind struck a pretty good balance with an often overpowering dish.
The pad kee mao was rather spicy, which we had requested. In my opinion, the spice added to the flavor of the dish and made it tastier. However, for those with a lower spice tolerance, you may want to be careful in how spicy you ask for the food to be, particularly the pad kee mao. If you can handle it, I would definitely recommend cranking the spice level up a notch as this dish is meant to be eaten spicy.
The Thai fried rice was pretty good; it was rather dry, but I honestly prefer it that way. The pork was tender and didn’t have much gristle at all. There were also a few decorative tomatoes lying about in the Thai Fried Rice.
For dessert, we ordered mango with sticky rice. It was so delicious that it should be illegal. The sticky rice was chewy and was glazed with a sweet custard-like sauce. The mango was perfectly ripe and soft.
I was quite impressed by Tamarind. Their food was flavorful and authentic for a Thai restaurant in the United States, and I appreciated the interior design of Tamarind and the aura it created. Luckily, there was a spice spectrum to choose from, so people can cater to their own desires. Tamarind is also a good choice for vegetarians or vegans, as one can substitute meat with tofu. Next time you roll by that green building, make sure not to judge it by its cover and, instead, consider heading in!