The Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Menu & Dine Out Vancouver
A Preview of the Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Menu & My Thoughts on Dine Out Vancouver
I was invited by the lovely Alisha Mann to the 2011 Dine-Out Vancouver preview of the Charm Modern Thai menu. For this reason I’m not going to write a regular post since it’s not representable of a regular night. I’m really putting myself out there, and may be shooting myself in the foot with this post, but I got to keep it real. I hope everyone who cares will understand. Anyways I’m going to get straight to the point… well of course through the delivery of my usual essay.
Am I “Charmed” by Charm or Dine Out Vancouver?
My Three Biases & Confessions…
1) I know the owner.
- Yes, I know the owner of Charm Modern Thai and he’s a friend. Having said that I have the utmost respect for him as a person and very successful restaurateur of the Thai House Group. However I have to write this post as Follow Me Foodie rather than Mijune. Geez… I sound like Beyonce explaining her “pseudo-identity” as Sasha Fierce.
2) I don’t really participate in “Dine Out Vancouver”.
- There’s nothing wrong with it, but contrary to what some may think, I’m actually not the target market for it.
- I used to participate in the annual Dine Out Vancouver by trying 6-7 restaurants, but I haven’t in the last few years.
- It doesn’t mean I won’t go to any, but I just don’t prefer to.
- On the other hand, I can see why it’s popular. It’s fun, great for business and there are some good deals out there.
Why not? These are just some of my general thoughts on Dine Out Vancouver/set menus/prix fixe, but…
- I don’t find it a proper representation of what the restaurant can really do and more often than not I find the restaurant is better on a regular night.
- I find that the ingredients are substituted, or the quality or portions of the food is jeopardized to meet the $18, $28, $38 prix fixe menu.
- I prefer ordering items I actually want to try rather than being limited to the prix fix menu, which are usually items that can easily sustain a volume of people.
- I do like a good deal, but I’m willing to pay for food… I think that’s a bit obvious with this blog… I should have chosen collecting cans as a hobby.
- I’m super into the food and don’t just “like to eat”, although I do really like to eat!
- Again, it doesn’t mean I won’t attend any Dine Outs or try set menus (I mean I kind of just did), and I have enjoyed a few, but I just don’t go for the food as much as I do the company.
3) Charm Modern Thai serves MODERN Thai.
- Don’t come expecting authentic Thai food because you won’t get it here. It’s not what it aims to do and it’s literally in the name.
- It’s personal tastes, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Asian fusion, unless it’s Japanese fusion. For example modern Chinese doesn’t really work for me either. I do prefer the traditional stuff, however I appreciate innovative cooking and I can’t blame them for being different. I can only base it on whether it tasted good.
Now that that’s out of the way I feel much better. Honesty is the best policy and without your trust, there is no point for this blog. Well actually I’d still be writing it just because I’m passionate about food, but you do make it all worthwhile!
My thoughts on the Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Menu…
I had a fantastic time dining with fellow social media users and foodies. However regarding the actual Dine Out menu, it more or less confirmed why I don’t really participate in Dine Out Vancouver.
I’ve been to Charm Modern Thai for special events, which still isn’t a proper representation of a regular night, but I did find what I’ve tried on those occasions more impressive. I enjoyed the appetizers and dessert more so than the entrees, but there are better dishes than what’s available on their Dine Out menu.
My suggestion is to visit Charm Modern Thai on a regular night and order from their regular menu. The dine out menu is a deal for $28 especially if it offers all the items you want to try, but if you’re truly in it for the food than I strongly recommend you to try it on a regular night before making your judgment.
Charm Modern Thai is a moderately priced Yaletown restaurant (mains under $20) and you’ll be spending an extra $6 MAX on a regular night ordering 3 courses of your choice with the standard portions. If you order the cheapest appetizer, main, and dessert you would only spend $20 too. (That’s the Asian in me, we calculate)
Disclosure: The portions shown are not representable of the portions you will receive at dine out. These were share plates for our table. I am writing this review only on the Charm Modern Thai Dine Out Menu and as if I was a paying customer.
Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Vancouver Menu
Sorry! Restaurant is now CLOSED.
Excludes wine, tax, gratuity. Min 2 persons per table.
** – My personal choice.
Choice of One Appetizer:
- Marinated prawn satay sticks
- Despite Tiger Prawns not being Ocean Wise, I would chose this. I’ll admit, this is one item that will be very difficult for me to give up, unlike shark’s fin. Hey it’s hard to be a “foodie” and abide to all the “food laws”.
- These were delicious! Perfectly cooked and crunchy.
- I could taste salt, black pepper, lemongrass and a predominant peanut and garlic in the marinade, yet the natural prawn flavour wasn’t overpowered.
- Since it was grilled there was an added smokiness and the delicious marinade was intensified by the roasting.
- Eaten with the creamy sweet, tangy, nutty, ginger and coconut Thai peanut dipping sauce it was delectable, but not even necessary.
- They were served with mini garlic bread crostinis that were very buttery and garlicky, but a bit soggy.
- This is actually not offered on the regular menu, but they do offer chicken satay sticks for $10.
- Fried duck confit spring rolls served with a wok roasted chili sauce
- I strongly feel that these are better when you come on a regular night and order them from the regular menu. See! This is the whole “dine out” thing I’m talking about! I just feel like they had more duck last time I tried them.
- They’re long and thin cigar shaped spring rolls and stuffed with sweet and savoury sauteed shredded cabbage and carrot slaw. I couldn’t really taste the duck, although the duck I did have was sweet and tender.
- It was served with a chili sauce that tasted like sweet plum sauce with a little heat.
- Overall they were crispy and good, but it is just a duck spring roll.
- Duck Sticks are $9 for 4 on the regular menu.
- Spice rubbed rock pepper with garlic prawns
- This was my second favourite of the appetizers. It was enjoyable and the prawns were large and crispy. The shell wasn’t deep fried long enough though so I couldn’t really eat the shells… yes Asian people do this.
- The prawns were sprinkled with a powdery topping of deep fried dried shrimp and garlic. I wish it stuck to the prawn shell more because I found them under salted, but very garlicky with a hint of pepper. The garlic was nutty but bordering on burnt so there was a slight bitterness.
- They were good alone, but actually impressive with the slaw it was served with.
- The slaw was a shredded green apple or green papaya tamarind slaw and it was crunchy and very refreshing and reminiscent of a saucier and richer Thai papaya salad. It was savoury sweet and tart and infused with fish sauce so there was a sharp savoury potent seafood flavour that’s excellent with the prawns and made them come alive.
- Rock Pepper with Garlic Chicken Wings or Prawns is offered on the regular menu for $10
Choice of One Entree:
To be honest, I didn’t really care for the entrees and would rather have double all the appetizers. Actually I would rather pay extra and order an entree from the regular menu, which you should try anyways. I was lucky to have a delightful vegetarian at my table who did order the Panang Curry and I did try it. I found it was very good and better than the entrees we were given.
- Pan seared green tea and lemongrass marinated organic chicken breast with orange and ginger glaze served with sauteed vegetables
- This sounded more exciting than it actually was. Roasted chicken rather than pan seared would be nice.
- I wouldn’t have guessed it was green tea without reading the description.
- I wrote in my notebook “tastes like honey orange chicken coated with mixture of plum sauce and very sweet Thai chili sauce.”
- I really think the base of the sauce is the same as the roasted chili plum sauce from the Duck Sticks appetizer.
- The green tea and lemongrass marinade was more like a breaded paste than a crust and I’m not sure if it was intended to be this way, but I would have liked a crust. The pool of sauce just made the texture more soggy and paste-like though.
- The veggies were just sauteed in soy sauce I think.
- Overall the dish seemed like a fusion of Chinese-Thai rather than Japanese-Thai. The flavours were familiar and I can see why it seemed to be everyone’s favourite.
- On the regular menu it’s $19, and I’m not sure how big the portion is.
- Grilled Japanese jumbo scallops drizzled with coconut cream sauce served with seasonal vegetables
- The flavours were actually not bad, but I prefer BC scallops compared to these. They weren’t that jumbo and the nature of these scallops were thin and flimsy. The two I had were gritty with a bit of sand, but only one other person out of 7 others I asked experienced the same thing.
- I did love that the scallops were grilled on both sides, and they had an intense charcoal flavour and smoky taste, but they didn’t taste seasoned with salt or pepper.
- The scallops were better and very good paired with the sweet coconut cream sauce drizzled on the veggies that actually came across as sweet tangy lemony yogurt. I liked the contrast of tang with the smoky flavours.
- The scallops didn’t really hold onto the curry sauce which was very thin and seemed packaged without the actual basil leaves and texture of fresh pureed lemongrass and ginger. It was still aromatic and quite sweet with coconut milk and the tang of lime juice, but overall it was just okay.
- It was served on a bed of tender sauteed zucchini, squash and broccoli.
- On the regular menu it’s $19 and it needs a starch to soak up the sauce. I am really picky on my scallop dishes, just because I’ve had amazing ones for the same price.
- Pan seared salmon with linguine in a medium spiced Thai green curry
- This was probably the most Westernized of all, but not to say it’s bad… sweet and sour pork is Westernized, but doesn’t make it bad.
- The linguine was soft and past al dente and the curry sauce was a bit soupy and not thick enough to stick to the noodles. I wish it was more creamy, but I did taste the strong aromatic flavours of lemongrass and basil, although I couldn’t see or taste the texture of actual spices and herbs.
- Overall it was on the sweeter side but it did have some heat, but was mild-medium for me.
- The salmon was fully cooked but not dry with a crispy charcoal exterior, but I just prefer my salmon more on the rare side.
- It was tossed with some tender sauteed zucchini, green beans and bamboo shoots, but overall it was a “do it at home” dish… which you could literally do at home because Charm sells their own packaged curry sauce through the Thai House brand.
- This isn’t offered on the regular menu, but they do have a Spicy Linguine with Tiger Prawns for $13.50.
Choice of One Dessert:
- It was a very rich and dense chocolate torte that was almost like a large slice of chocolate truffle. It was a bit much for me, but a couple bites is very enjoyable.
- It’s bitter sweet chocolate and it’s actually not that sweet with a noticeable salty taste to it. The chili heat sneaks up on you and comes afterward. It’s not necessarily spicy, but there’s obvious heat that does linger.
- The raspberry coulis was a nice contrast, and the won ton crisps were a bit random since it didn’t really go with the tart, but I enjoyed them alone.
- On the regular menu it’s $4.
- I actually thought it was a coconut tapioca pudding and didn’t know there was supposed to be vanilla bean in it. I couldn’t taste the vanilla. The red thing was a Maraschino Cherry… ick, I don’t like those.
- It was served warm and Thai style. Personally I prefer this dessert cold, sometimes served like this at Chinese restaurants.
- Compared to most versions this was very creamy, ultra rich and thick, and made with lots of coconut cream. It wasn’t actually that sweet though, which is good since it’s so rich already.
- There was no toasted coconut in it, which would have been nice, but this was still good and smooth with chewy tapioca pearls.
- Just an interesting fact, but the authentic Thai version actually uses a lot of salt… which I don’t like, so I did like this modern version better.
- On the regular menu it’s $4.
- More mama!
- I love ice cream and Thai Tea so I asked for 2nd’s before I even took my first bite, and then I ate someone else’s as my 3rd bowl of the night. I was pounding this back like no tomorrow.
- It was just as tres excellent as the Vietnamese coffee gelato from Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie.
- It was ultra creamy, smooth and rich, a bit chewy in texture and sweetened with condensed milk. It tasted literally like authentic pulled Thai tea. Heaven!
- I literally had to walk away from the 3rd bowl.
- On the regular menu it’s $4.
- I’ll assume you’re not dining alone, but I strongly suggest one of you to order the Thai Tea Ice Cream, and the other to order the Vanilla Bean Tapioca. Excuse my French, but holy sh!t… I did it again! So delicious together!
This is a photo of the vegetarian Panang Curry, which was the better entree that was ordered off the regular menu. I actually really enjoyed the few bites I tried. The curry sauce was much more complex and homemade compared to the curry sauces from the Dine Out Vancouver menu.