I have never been to Thailand. I have never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express either, but I have eaten a lot of Thai food around the United States. It is my favorite Asian cuisine hands down. The reason why I feel I have the need to say this is that I have always had the suspicion that maybe the Thai food I am used to and like is an Americanized distant cousin of authentic Thai food. Sort of like what happened to Chinese cuisine when it came here. I wouldn’t know the difference. But I do know what I like in Thai food. Anyway, with this disclaimer out of the way if you are still interested here are my impressions, likes and dislikes of Sumittra:
I have now eaten twice at Sumittra and am delighted to report that since my first experience the service has improved markedly. They appear to have gotten their sea legs. During my most recent visit the service was right where it should be. During my visits I sampled a number of their offerings. Some items I really loved and some not so much. The highlights were the fried tofu appetizers: perfectly crispy and not greasy. The drunken noodles- I loved the flavors and the heat; and their sweet and sour stir fry. The latter was filled with perfectly cooked, yet still crispy, vegetables and covered with an excellent sweet and sour sauce. The sauce was perfect. Not too sweet and not too vinegary. I used every last grain of rice soaking up all the drips of that sauce. However, the dishes I wasn’t crazy about (the chicken satay and the Pad Thai) were all because of the same fault: they were just too sweet. I found the sauce on the satay to be too much sugary coconut and not enough peanut flavor. The Pad Thai was, in the words of my dining companion, “cloyingly sweet.” Having tasted it I would certainly agree. I don’t think I could have eaten a whole plate of that. Thai Rice on the Golden mile still has the best Pad Thai in town as far as I am concerned. On the plus side the menu is large and there are easily a dozen or more dishes I am really eager to try. I definitely will be back to try them. I haven’t even gotten to the curry section yet! Also of note is that almost every dish they offer can be made vegetarian. No liquor license yet and both times I’ve been too stuffed to try dessert.
The restaurant is very tastefully decorated in oranges and blacks with tons of exposed brick. It projects a modern, hip vibe. My only beef with the ambience was that the last time I was there is was loud. I mean really loud. I think this was primarily due to one eight person group that was so raucous they bordered (the wrong side of the border too) on rude. This certainly isn’t Sumittra’s fault so I can’t hold that against them. In hindsight I had no problems the first time I was there with the noise level.
To sum it up Sumittra Thai is an excellent and much needed addition to the downtown dining scene. However, beware of dishes that have sweet flavors. The chef just seems to go overboard with that taste. They are located at 12 East Patrick Street. No website that I am aware of.