A friend of mine recently returned from Seattle and continues to crave Thai food. I've been to Thai Diner and Thai Diner, Too and even though the food was decent, neither establishment insistently calls me back. And even though Mom Siam has received great reviews, every time I have been the food was uninspiring and the service abysmal. We settled on Beauregard's Thai Room, located on Cary St. between downtown and VCU. It had been years since we had eaten there. In fact, the last time we visited, it was the only Thai restaurant in the area.
As we entered and descended to the hostess stand, we were somewhat leary. The cigarette haze enveloping the entrance was noxious. We held our breaths and headed upstairs to the non-smoking dining area (not a trace of a cigarette here). The restaurant is housed in a traditional large brick Richmond row house with soaring ceilings. The dining room decor is formal, complete with custom Napoleonic drapes, yet, the walls are a seafoam green. An odd mix of formality and casualness.
We perused our menus and the wine list. Since we expected our entrees to be spicy-hot, we bagged tradition (red wine) and ordered a 2004 Jekel Monterey Riesling - tart green apple with a brief hint of apricot. Bill, our waiter, had a little trouble with the wine service and began taking orders before we even had a chance to taste the wine. Hey Bill, slow down next time!
For starters, my husband and I ordered Thai Dumplings, our friend, Wonton Soup. The dumplings were very different from the other Oriental dumplings we have tried. These were wrapped in thin Wonton wrappers. Much more delicate. The ground shrimp and pork filling also had more flavor. The sauce was vinegary and HOT! We congratulated ourselves on ordering the Riesling! A very tasty beginning.
For the main course, I decided on Gai Pad Med Ma-Muan (Cashew Chicken) - Sliced chicken breasts sauteed with cashews, onions, scallions, and dried chillies (2 star spicy). My friend and my husband ordered two versions of Pad Thai. Our West coast traveller selected Pad Thai - Traditional - Fried rice noodles in a sweet and sour sauce with shrimp, scallions, egg, bean sprouts, and ground peanuts (no star spicy). My husband ordered Beauregard's Pad Thai - Rice noodles sauteed with shrimp, fresh vegetables, Thai spices, and ground peanuts (1 star spicy). All were delicious. The Cashew Chicken was fresh with a few broccoli flowerets thrown in and the sauce was flavorful, yet light. I was a little disappointed, however, with the spiciness. My husband's dish had more of a kick than mine. The shrimp in both Pad Thai dishes were large and yummy. The noodles were light, but filling. As we dined our friend shared pictures and tales of Seattle.
It was well worth going back to Richmond's original Thai restaurant. The dishes were better balanced and we liked the tribute to an older Richmond via the building. When we dined the weather was rainy, so, we were not able to take advantage of the courtyard behind the building. Next time, we'll choose a clear evening and eat al fresco!