I went with the MePlusFood crew and a few friends to Charm Modern Thai in Yaletown last Friday. It was actually my choice, because I’ve been wanting to try Thai food for some time now, but was always scared that I’d die from all the peanuts that are associated with Thai food.
The owner of Charm Modern Thai is supposedly the son of the onwer of Urban Thai Bistro just a few steps down Hamilton St. A bit strange that Father and Son are competing against the Thai restaurant market so close to each other. I wonder which one is better. I think Samba’s is also part of their group.
We arrived at the restaurant at about 6:30PM. It wasn’t busy at all, and our group of 5 was quickly seated. Our hostess-slash-server was great. She was very attentive and nice. We ordered our drinks first. I decided on the Phuket Caiprioshka, which has Lychee caiprinha, with Fresh whole lychees muddled with Soho and Vodka. The drink was OK. Not something I have again. Although I love lychee, and there was a lychee on a plastic skewer on top of my drink, the alcohol was too strong, and the straw was pretty much useless as the chunks of lychee clogged the straw. The Lycheetini was a lot better.
We all ordered the 3 course meal for $28.75. You can read Beipas’ review for the stuff they ordered. I had the Charm Neau Carpaccio, Tamarind Duck, Pad Thai, and a Chocolate Chilli Tort. I wanted to try as much as I could because I wasn’t sure how often I’d go back. My main goal was to try Pad Thai because I’ve never had it. But there were so many other options that were appealing that I wanted to order more. As I ordered, I made sure to tell our server that I’m allergic to peanuts. And she passed, none of my food had peanuts in it.
As our appetizers came, I was passed my Carpaccio, and saw some brown bits. I got worried a bit, but it turned out it was just fried Garlic. This Carpaccio was great. It has slices of raw beef, and topped with cilantro, chillis, fried garlic and topped with a Thai vinaigrette. I loved every piece of it. The fried garlic wasn’t too overpowering and added a nice little crunch with the bite, and there was just the perfect hint of cilantro. Starting off so well, I was excited for the rest of my meal.
Next came my Tamarind Duck and my Pad Thai. The duck was served on top of a lettuce leaf and the tamarind sauce was drizzled over top. It was served with some vegetables on the side. Now, to me the duck was cooked well, though it was served just warm and cold down fairly quickly. I ordered mine medium rare and it was still a bit red, but that’s OK by me. My friend who also had the duck said that his was tough, but I think mine was cooked perfectly. Anyways, the tamarind sauce was very mild in flavour. I could hardly tell that it was a tamarind sauce. The vegetables however were complete crap. They seemed to be undercooked, and they had a bitter taste to it which I totally didn’t like. The duck, which is the main feature of the dish was good, but this isn’t something I would order agian.
As for the Pad Thai. Well, I was greatly disappointed. It came very dry, and the chicken was dry and overcooked. The noodles didn’t have much sauce to it, and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting a saucier noodle, with some eggs in it too. What I got was a dry noodle, with some tofu. This has actually turned me off of Pad Thai. Maybe it’s because I waited a bit too long and the sauce was soaked up by the noodles, but I doubt it. I let everyone try some, and they said it’s not supposed to be that dry either. Maybe the crushed peanuts make the dish better? I’ll probably never find out. If this is how Pad Thai is always like here at Charm Modern, do not order it.
Finally for my dessert. It was strange. It came with a hair on the plate. We let our server know, and she apologized and brought me a new plate a few minutes later. OK, that’s not why it was weird. This chocolate chilli tort had I think chilli flakes in it. You’d take a bite of the chocolate, and it would be sweet, then as you swallow the chilli would hit you with some spice. It’s good for a bite or two, but more than that and it’s just annoying. I finished less than half of it. It also came with a fried wonton skin with some sort of sweet red sauce… strawberry perhaps?
To make up for the hair in my dessert, our waitress gave us all a shot of Lychee and vodka with muddled lychee inside. It was pretty good, and a good gesture by her. So in the end, though I was pleased very pleased with my appetizer, it did go down hill from there. Like Beipas said, they started very high, but the food quality kept going lower and lower. Now, I think my food was better than what everyone else had, for the most part, so I’m giving them a 3 out of 5. My bill hit $60 which hurt the wallet a bit because of the extra entrée on top of my 3-course meal. I must stop ordering so much food. Our server was awesome though – Charm Modern if you read this, give the girl who worked on Friday January 8 a raise.
Charm Modern Thai
1269 Hamilton St
Vancouver, BC V6B