It's hard to recall without a pang, but there was a time when there were no Thai restaurants in Cranston's Pawtuxet Village neighborhood. Nowadays, diners have their choice.
Rim Nahm offers its guests not only good food but also a fine view, perched as it is at the bridge over the Pawtuxet River. If it's a nice day and you get there early enough, you can enjoy your meal at a balcony table out back and watch sparkling water speeding by. The restaurant name means "water's edge." Get there late and you might have to settle for an un-sunlit table in the corridor near the front.
Call me credulous, but there's a self-approving manifesto on the front of the menu that I take at face value, considering the excellent meals I've had there, experiences echoed by foodie friends. It's worth quoting one paragraph in full: "Within these walls, time is an ally. Authentic Thai cuisine cannot be 'production-lined,' so each dish is cooked to order. Your patience will be rewarded with the subtle nuance of flavors not found elsewhere." Big talk. I was eager to see if that was still so.
Rin Nahm | 401.467.7897 | 2212 Broad St, Cranston | Mon, 5:30-9:30 pm; Tues-Sun, 11:30 am- 9:30 pm | Major Credit Cards | BYOB | Sidewalk-Level Accessible
Upon entering, you pass photos of Thai fishermen busy on their boats and also formal portraits of Thailand's royal family (long out of power, of course). I love the subtle implication that the dishes are going to be down-home authentic but also fit for regal inspection. Further along, the place opens into a larger sunlit room with rosy pink walls above knotty pine wainscoting.
I looked at the sheet of lunch specials, all but one $9.95, for anything imaginative. In the lemongrass shrimp, the guest of honor was marinated in chunks, to better absorb the garlic and lemongrass, which makes sense. In the goong gartiam, there is not just cilantro but rather cilantro essence to punch up that taste, as well as crispy fried garlic to complement the garlic sauce in which the shrimp are sautéed. Nice touches.
Looking over the list of appetizers was like visiting old friends, though not necessarily to stay this time. There were pleasant memories of a simple favorite of my wife's, golden triangles (fried tofu, $4.25), but that's hardly a challenge. I remember enjoying the tod man pla ($5.95), equally golden fried fish cakes that are mixed with Thai spices and cooled off with cucumber sauce. A little greasy but good.
This time I tried their scallion pancakes ($4.50), and while they were crisp and tasty, there was a complaint from the table that there "could have been more scallions," to which I had to agree. But it's hardly condemnatory, wishing for more of a good thing.
We had both versions of tom yam soup ($3.50/$4.50), one floating three shrimp and the other with even more seafood. It was not too spicy hot, softened by pineapple juice and wearing more than a token fresh basil leaf. "Lots of levels," was one comment it drew. The tom kra kai (coconut milk soup, $3.50) was the real hit of the starters, though. "I think this is the best version I've ever had," remarked the above commentator, a food writer friend. I found it too sweet. "I can do sweet," he responded.