Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  Adult
Boston  |  Portland  |  Providence
Features  |  Hot Plate  |  Noshing  |  On The Cheap  |  Restaurant Reviews  |  Sipping

S+I Thai

Electric Siamese acid test
By MC SLIM JB  |  January 23, 2008

Among my resources for restaurant tips, the food-obsessive amateurs at seem to uncover the best new places first. Less useful is, a newer online opinion site whose contributors seem more callow, less fervid about uncovering great restaurants. But I must credit local Yelpers for steering me to S&I Thai, an amazing Allston restaurant that has been operating under my radar for four years.

This 14-seat storefront features one menu in English of familiar, slightly Westernized dishes, and another in Thai of perfectly authentic food. Judging by all the Thai-speaking customers, the latter is the bigger draw. Although toned down for American palates, the English-menu dishes are still fresh and vibrant, pungent enough that you can tell when yours is on the stove. The farang version of pad ga pow ($7.95), a semi-fierce rice plate of ground chicken in spicy Thai basil sauce, is rated five chilies but wouldn’t induce the expected endorphin flow in most diners. To get what the Thai ex-pats are having, you must try to convince the genial but skeptical staff that you want your order “Thai style.”

If you succeed, your dishes will have more chili fire but also a more exquisite counterbalance of other insistent flavors. For example, the abundant chilies in som tum salad ($7.95) are pleasantly searing, but shredded papaya, lime, and dried shrimp provide the clearest notes, while peanuts and sticky rice deliver textural interest. Pad ga pow moo krob ($8.50) is based on “three-layer pork,” chunks of meat with some fat and skin left on, fried until the crackling bubbles and crisps. Chilies and basil provide piquancy, but that rich, marvelously textured pork is still the star. Once you’ve sampled this kind of authentic Thai cookery in all its intensely flavored glory, you may forever have to shun insipid chicken satay and bowdlerized pad Thai. S&I offers a frugal, friendly way to determine if the real thing is for you.

S&I Thai, located at 168A Brighton Avenue, in Allston, is open Monday through Thursday, from 11:30 am to 10 pm; on Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 am to 11 pm; and on Sunday, from noon to 10 pm. Call 617.254.8488.

  • Share:
  • RSS feed Rss
  • Email this article to a friend Email
  • Print this article Print
S+I Thai
It is very easy to spot the chowhound groups. They are the ones taking pictures of their food, and telling the owner/manager that they are from chowhound. Somehow, I don't know why, free food and wine magically appear on the table. Jeez, what a coincidence.
By hogtied on 02/02/2008 at 1:09:44
S+I Thai
The notion that Chowhounds are often given special treatment like food and drink comps at Boston restaurants is laughable. They're amateur posters, not professional critics. Nobody is "from Chowhound"; anybody with Internet access can post opinions there. I'd wager that many Boston restaurateurs are barely aware it exists. Go ahead and try to pull that "I'm a Chowhound" card in a local restaurant and see how many comps it gets you. It's like saying to a politician: "I'm a registered voter: fear my power, and take care of this parking ticket for me!"
By MCslimJB on 02/03/2008 at 7:20:11
S+I Thai
Actually, sorry to say that that is rather inaccurate. I'm sure that going to a busy high end restaurant, you are right- using the chowhound routine would be laughable. However, resturants such as Angela's, Grotto, and Voile, which have garnered not only praise but requests for hounds to make sure that "they don't close", will have a very great effect. In fact, I have seen it. Like your reviews, but your naivte is more "laughable" than anything else.
By hogtied on 02/06/2008 at 1:46:06
S+I Thai
Interesting, hogtied, as I've also seen groups of Chowhounds at places like Angela's and Grotto (though not at La Voile), and they got some extra attention from Luis or the hostess, but not any comps. Is it possible that your magic Chowhound formula for getting freebies isn't foolproof?
By MCslimJB on 02/11/2008 at 10:25:36
S+I Thai
Sorry for the delay. Yes, it is possible that the Chowhound routine is fallible, but I have seen it, with my own eyes, twice. Again, I find your posts on Chowhound to be right on, and I'm sure you are not telling the chef that a picture of the entree will be on Chowhound. But you need to get real. I would certainly comp a glass of wine, a "taste of something good", a soupcon of something not on the menu. It would be the cheapest advertising on the face of the planet. Also, why do it? A power trip? I can't imagine that you go into a restaurant and state that you are doing a review, and bring a flash camera to photograph the food. Also, hate to say it, the over impact of Chowhound is greater, for the most part, than an evanescent review in the Phoenix. I imagine we will continue to disagree. I hope to meet you someday. You should have had Devra's job.
By hogtied on 02/26/2008 at 1:16:27
S+I Thai
Sorry, that last comment of mine was a little snarky -- you may well have a point about comps for Chowhounds who crow about being Chowhounds. I always dine anonymously, never mention Chowhound or The Phoenix; professional photographers are dispatched many days after my visits. I agree that sites like Chowhound are growing in influence, which I'm glad to see. There are a ton of really passionate, knowledgeable posters over there; it's one of my best resources for pointers to great restaurants, high and low and in between. Thanks for the kind words, but I think Devra is really coming into her own over at the Globe.
By MCslimJB on 04/04/2008 at 12:13:13

Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FOUR BURGERS  |  July 02, 2008
    Make mine medium-rare — and green
  •   EL PAISA RESTAURANTE  |  June 25, 2008
    Another thrifty South American standout in Eastie
  •   TACO LOCO  |  June 18, 2008
    Fresh reasons to break out of your rut
  •   TERRIE'S PLACE  |  June 11, 2008
    Real Southie flavor, on the plate and in the air
  •   NEW YORK PIZZA  |  June 04, 2008
    A pretty good slice, despite the dubious branding strategy

 See all articles by: MC SLIM JB

 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

Featured Articles in On The Cheap:
Friday, July 04, 2008  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
StuffAtNight Latest:
Copyright © 2008 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group