Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Giving Chada a Chance

I'm always excited to see new restaurants opening in my neighborhood...and had my eye on Chada since it opened in November. The first few reviews that were posted on Menu Pages said that the portions were small and over-priced. Not my ideal Thai dining experience. But, MP and I checked the site again and saw some of the newer reviews, it looks like the owners of Chada may have taken note of the criticism.

The restaurant is small, with about 25 tables, but has an open, modern feel. The decor combined with a decent sized bar gives Chada a lounge feel. More on that later. On the cold Tuesday night we were there, there were maybe 4 other tables filled. But, the delivery guys were in and out quite frequently. I'm hoping they do a big delivery business since the sit down portion didn't seem to be fairing so well.

I looked over the menu to see if they had any interesting dishes, in addition to the usual Thai options. One thing caught my eye...an incredibly reasonable prix-fixe menu for $17.95. I was really hungry, and eager to try more than just one item, so I went for it. It included the following:
Choice of salad or one of three soups
Choice of 5 appetizers
Choice of 6 entrees
Choice of 2 desserts

Up first was a Thai Salad, with mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, onions, bean sprouts and a peanut sauce dressing. All of the veggies were very fresh and the dressing wasn't too heavy with the taste of peanut.

Next up was veggie spring rolls. There were two small rolls filled with cabbage, carrots, celery, and vermicelli and were served with a sweet plum dipping sauce. There were just fantastic...plain and simple. The flavor was great and they were crispy without being oily.

For my main course, I ordered my Thai go-to dish Pad See Ew with veggies. Pad See Ew usually comes with Chinese broccoli, but this had green beans, carrots, and regular broccoli in it as well.

It wasn't the largest portion of Thai noodles I've ever seen, but given that I was having a 4-course meal, I was very OK with it. The sweet soy sauce was great, and I really enjoyed this dish.

For dessert I decided to go with the Dippin' Donut Holes, which were freshly made and topped with condensed milk. Wow. Granted, it's hard for anything sweet that is fried and topped with a sweeter sauce to be bad. But, these things were fantastic...similar to a zeppole or beignet, but a lot lighter.
MP went with a much lighter dinner and ordered the Thai Salad to start, and the Cashew Nut entree with chicken and steamed vegetables.

I noticed it said on the menu that Chada is available for private parties, and with my birthday approaching, I looked around and thought it could be a great space to have my party. I spoke to one of the owner's daughters and she gave me some of the details. I was sold. Now I just had to convince JS and ME about my idea because I was having a joint party with them! It all worked out so well. We had the entire space to ourselves. We were able to bring our ipod to play music. They offered us an option of a $30 open bar for the first two hours of the party, and also had some drink specials available. Needless to say, it was a fantastic night. Great space and great friends.



If you're looking for a really reasonable Thai restaurant that has a lot more atmosphere than some of the other places in the neighborhood, definitely give Chada a chance. And, if you're looking for a space to host a party or event, keep Chada in mind. Times are tough and restaurant competition is stiff, but I'm rooting for Chada to make it.

Chada
637 Second Avenue
b/t 34th & 35th Streets
website
Menu Pages listing

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