The Ember Room by Ian Kittichai


As you know if you’ve been following me on twitter (and if you’re not, you should be!), I recently went to Ember Room, a restaurant featuring “progressive Thai comfort food” from Chef Ian Kittichai, to celebrate my wife’s birthday.  If you’re looking for a great pre- or post-theater dinner with good vegetarian food, the Ember Room is a great choice.I started off with a cocktail (not pictured, unfortunately) — the oddly named “Thai Streetside Ladyboy Daquiri”.  I try to seek out spicy drinks, and this one did not disappoint.  The drink is described as “Lemongrass-Infused Rum, Fresh Lime and Pineapple Juice, Thai Chilis, Basil Seeds”, and it really packed a kick!  So if you like spicy drinks, and you can stand the embarrassment of saying “Thai Streetside Ladyboy Daquiri” out loud, then I recommend this cocktail.  (My wife had the “Zipang Sparkler”, which tasted like a sparkling rose with strawberries, and it was quite good.)I found the menu a little bit confusing.  The “small plates” include green curry lasagna and Thai chili mac and cheese, but neither of these could be made vegetarian.  After I struck out with those two options, I asked what was, or could be made, vegetarian, and the waitress recommended the Thai tacos.  I thought they would be bland without the chicken, but I was mistaken.  They were actually quite good:  the taco shell was crispy (though just a tad too oily), and the filling was quite good.  The tofu and bean sprouts filled up the tacos well, and the chili sauce was spicy.

For my main course, I got the Naked Veggie Burger with tofu fries.  I guess I wasn’t focusing on the “naked” part of the title, which apparently means it’s a veggie burger served without a bun.  Instead, it was a veggie burger topped with a single onion ring, some mixed greens, and tofu fries on the side.  What you see on the right is the so-called “Ember Sauce”.

As you can see, the veggie burger is quite substantial.  As you can probably imagine, most restaurants’ veggie burgers are pretty bland.  They’re usually a generic frozen patty that’s been reheated, and they feature few actual, you know, vegetables.  Not so here!  You can see peas and carrots in the picture above, the the rest of the patty was very good, too.  The sauce, which tasted mostly like barbeque sauce, was okay, although there was a little too much of it.  I would have preferred it on the side, rather than poured on top of the veggie burger.  I also liked the tofu fries; I’ve had a lot of fried tofu that doesn’t really hold up well.

Overall, the Ember Room was great.  They have several vegetarian options that are interesting, not the usual stuff you find at a Thai restaurant.  The options they do have actually good, not a situation where something looks good on the menu but comes off poorly in execution.  I do think it would be nice if there were a few more vegetarian options on the menu (the lasagna and the mac and cheese, in particular, seem like they’d be pretty easy to adapt), but in general, Ember Room was a nice spot to celebrate.

(Picture at the top of this post from this website.)

Ember Room’s menu is below. (Return to the body of the post.)

EMBER’S GEMSSMALL PLATES
Koi Tuna Tartare 12
fresh tuna, roasted ground rice, crispy tortillas, chili-lime dressing
“Yum Hoi” Pomelo Scallops 12
seared “diver” scallops, chili jam glaze, pomelo salad,
roasted pepper-lime dressing
Terra Cotta Fish Cakes 7
crispy rice-crusted red chili paste fish cake, ember room sauce
Chocolate Ribs 7
grilled pork ribs, smoked bbq chocolate sauce glazeENTRÉES
Lobster Pad Thai MP
bangkok street-style pad thai, herb-poached lobster
Red Chili-Glazed Sea Bass 24
freshly baked, sweet and spiced glaze, celery root puree, gailan
Heritage Pork Belly 19
chaing mai spiced braised pork belly, root vegetables,
asian herbs, fresh ginger***SMALL PLATES
Grilled Japanese Eggplant 7
smoked salt, cilantro, red miso glaze
Bamboo Chicken Curry Dip 8
pan-fried roti, chicken, green curry, bamboo shoot, eggplant
Thai Tacos 8
shredded chicken, bean sprouts, chives, peanut, tofu, coconut,
sweet chili sauce
“Nam Prik Ong” Lettuce Wrap 7
northern thai-style bolognese, fresh vegetables, crispy eggplant
Green Curry Lasagna 9 
green curry bolognese, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, ground beef
Thai Chili Mac & Cheese 8 
thai chili jam, smoked bacon, onion, fresh mozzarella, parmesan,
house-made breadcrumbs
Thai Pastrami Meatballs 9
ground pork, bacon, sweet tamarind glaze, chinese mustard
Crispy Rock Corn Shrimp 12
empura battered shrimp, roasted melting eggplant,
sweet tamarind dressing, shredded hard-boiled egg
Steamed “Icy Blue” Mussels 10
canadian mussels, lemongrass, spicy and sour bouillon, garlic bread
Half-Shell Fried Oysters 11
crispy fried oyster, sautéed bean sprout, garlic chive, sriracha
Fresh Oysters 10
fresh oyster, seafood sauce, sriracha, crispy shallots
Calamari Lao Tzu 9
semolina-crusted calamari, black sriracha
Ember Original Lobster Roll 16
homemade sour cream, chili jam, celeriac, shallots, mango
served with 7-spice fries, mayonnaise

SOUPS
Tom Yum Khoong 8
traditional spicy and sour soup, grilled shrimp
“Ya-yai” Mushroom soup 6
clear oyster mushroom soup, tofu, egg, meatballs

SALADS 
Seared Thai Steak Salad 8
shell steak, tomato, cucumber, cilantro & scallion salad,
spicy toasted ground rice dressing
Crispy Papaya Salad 7
traditional papaya salad with a twist of crispy papaya, peanut
Heirloom Beet “Som Tom” 9
long beans, cherry tomates, sweet & sour vinaigrette
Tiger Prawn Mango Salad 9
charred tiger prawns, shredded medium-ripe mango salad
BBQ Berkshire Pork Belly Salad 10
fuji apple, asian broccoli, smashed chili vinaigrette

ENTRÉES
Had Yai Volcano Chicken 16
oven-roasted turmeric-coconut marinated chicken, green chili sauce
Grilled Panang Shell Steak 24
panang curry, sautéed gailan
Crispy Whole Striped Bass 22
whole fish, sweet/sour/spicy sauce, crispy basil
Red Curry Crispy Duck 18
lychee, pineapple, cherry tomato, eggplant
Classic Pad Thai 15
bbq jumbo shrimp, bean sprouts, garlic-chive, peanuts
Spaghetti à la Drunk Man 15
wok-fried pad kee mao, shrimp, ground chicken, bell pepper, holy basil
Naked Veggie Burger 13
veggie patty, mixed salad, tofu fries, ember sauce
Korean BBQ-Beef Fried Rice 14
wok-fried rice, kimchee, bbq beef, topped with raw egg

SIDES
Temple Fried Rice 5
wok-fried combination of asian grains, soybean, red bean,
minced asian olive, snap peas, smoked tofu
Sunrise Fried Rice 6
thai chorizo, thai pork sausage, onion, scallion, fresh ginger, lime, peanut
Sugar Snap Peas 5
sea salt, toasted chili flakes
Bok Choy 5
spicy garlic sauce

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One Response to The Ember Room by Ian Kittichai

  1. Pingback: Cooking Oyster Salad with Åke Edwardson | Alison Amazed

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