I’ve been sampling Pad Thai at a number of local places. I’ve found that it’s a dish I really enjoy. The noodles. The vegetables. The range of flavors in the sauce. The heat. I just love it.
I have heard pretty much nothing but platitudes about Celadon Thai which popped up in the former home of the Roman Pub in Latham, pretty much across the street from Ala Shanghai on Troy Schenectady Road. I used to live a couple of miles down the road in Watervliet, so I figured it would be a fun trip to check out a new place in the old neighborhood.
Inside, the restaurant is very new, kind of like a home dining room just after a renovation. Unless there is a separate room I didn’t see, the dining area is fairly small for the scope of the menu. With 12 parties of 4, it would make for a cozy experience. It’s cute though.
To start, I ordered the Tofu Delight 8 (Deep fried tofu served with a side of crushed peanuts in sweet & sour sauce – $5.95).
It looked great, and that’s about as far as that went. These were completely tasteless. If you’ve ever come across someone who says they don’t like tofu, it’s because they expect something like this. The peanut sweet and sour sauce was quite good, but rolled off the tofu as I dunked it. The only way I could come up with to get all of it in one bite was to tear a bit of the fried tofu, put it on a spoon, and drizzle some sauce onto the spoon. I won’t be ordering this again.
I was hopeful that my Pad Thai would be a better experience. I ordered the combo (chicken, pork, beef, shrimp – $15) as hot as it comes.
The pad Thai was very good. They take the “shrimp” claim on the menu pretty serious as there was just one shrimp, with half of a tail on it, no less. It was sweeter than most I’ve had, and the spice level was pretty tame. It’s almost like they have their menu set toward a less experienced diner. The best part of the dish was the doneness of the noodles. Usually, noodles in pad Thai get cooked to oblivion between the boil and the stir fry. Their rice noodles were al dente.
While our server took our order, I took note of the pen she was using. It seems like a strange thing to focus on, I know, but it was actually visually striking. It was so striking that I was compelled to pay with my credit card and ask to use the pen.