After the haul from downtown Boise out to the corner of Meridian and Eagle Road, I was ready to indulge in some tasty Thai food and a cup of hot jasmine tea. As a fan of the original Siam on Boise Avenue, I had high expectations for little brother, Siam II.
Siam II is located on the backside of a strip mall in an area of Meridian that is still in the process of being developed. When we walked in, the only people present were the cooks and the waitress who promptly sat us. Granted, it was a Monday night at 8:30, but it still shocked me that a Thai restaurant with such an established reputation in Boise remained void of patrons in its Meridian location.
We started the meal off with an order of Cha Gio, a lightly fried roll with minced pork and vegetables. We wrapped each of the tiny rolls in a piece of crisp lettuce and dipped them into a sweet vinegar sauce with a hint of chili pepper. As always, I had to remind myself that I was not there to make a meal out of the appetizer and slapped my own reaching hand after I had consumed a fair amount.
After a short wait, our food arrived hot and aromatic. The selection of food that my dining partners and I ordered consisted of the traditional Pad Thai, Pad Prik Pao, Orange Chicken and Red Curry. Though I was disappointed that one of my dining partners ordered something as bland as Orange Chicken, I didn't want to ridicule. All spectrums of the menu should be reviewed, even the sections that are for people afraid to try anything new. The Pad Thai was hearty and delicious, consisting of a large pile of rice noodles, stir fried egg and a choice of meat mixed with a traditional Thai peanut sauce and garnished with fresh green onions bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and a lime wedge. Pad Thai is one of my favorite Thai dishes and Siam in Boise (and now Meridian) serves some of the best.
The Pad Prik Pao was noted as spicy on the menu but wasn't what I would consider spicy when I initially sampled it. We added a fair amount of chili paste to the dish and it instantly brought the flavor out. Pad Prik Pao is a noodle and vegetable dish but we added chicken and it was served with side steamed jasmine rice.
The Orange Chicken was bereft of flavor, exactly how most Orange Chicken has always tasted to me. The dish was served as a generous amount of deep fried chicken glazed with orange sauce and jasmine rice on the side. Nothing too exciting, but we didn't expect much more than that.
The absolute highlight of the meal was the Red Curry. It had the perfect amount of coconut milk, allowing it to delicately blend with the curry spices and bring out all of its robust flavor. The jasmine rice served with it adds the perfect accent. I felt like the only thing missing from my meal was a far off view of the sun setting on a warm night in Thailand.
The style and selection of food at Siam has always been very traditional, and with that, reasonably conservative. Siam is not the place you want to go if you are looking to try a new, contemporary Thai dished infused with an array of exotic flavors. However, if you want to dine somewhere that radiates quality and consistency and features some of the best Red Curry in Idaho, Siam is the place to go whether it's to the Boise location or the new spot in Meridian.
--Lauren Tweedy has a really big crush on jasmine-infused anything.