October 6, 2006
105 S 22nd St, Philadelphia 19103
Btwn Chestnut St & Sansom St
Appetizer I: Lemongrass Soup
Appetizer II: Steamed Dumpling – Shrimp and corn with garlic Thai spice with sweet soy vinegar
Entree: Pad Thai – Stir-fried rice noodle w/ shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, egg and peanuts.
Smile Cafe is a quaint (read: small) restaurant around the corner from my apartment. I’ve wanted to try it for sometime but am generally hesitant about Thai food in Philly. I went for lunch with some co-workers and had a surpisingly pleasant experience.
The restaurant has an incredible lunch special – two small appetizers and an entree for $7.95. Whatta steal! The appetizer choices I didn’t pick were the salad and spring roll. One of my co-workers ordered the salad and it looked great. No sign of iceberg anywhere; just lovely greens and other vegetables. A few co-workers opted for the “spring roll” option. It was deep fried and therefore an egg roll, but they seemed to dig it just fine.
My lemongrass soup was flavorful and mild. There were veggies in the soup including broccoli, yellow squash, and mushrooms. Very tasty, but could’ve been more spicy. I was served two good-sized dumplings. They were steamed to perfection and quite yummy especially with the sweet soy vinegar. The dumplings reminded me of dim sum, which is somewhat troubling because I was in a Thai restaurant. That’s the problem with Thai restaurants in Philadelphia; they cater to the white man’s love for Chinese food.
My Pad Thai entree was very good and the portion was quite large. I was a bit disappointed that I had to ask for limes (there should ALWAYS be limes on the side) and the waitress brought out lemons! South East Asian cuisine does not use lemons.
Overall, I found the food to be very tasty, but questionably Thai.