This doesn’t happen often enough in dining.
Having met a friend for dinner, you start to catch up as you peruse the menu and place your order.
Then the food arrives, and suddenly, all conversation stops. Not for a moment or two, but for several long minutes.
My Herald colleague, Janice Podsada, finally broke the silence as she sampled her entree of red curry with coconut milk, bell pepper, bamboo shoots, fresh basil and soft tofu ($11.95). “You don’t want this to end,” she said of the dish.
She joined me for a recent dinner at Thai Waterside in Mukilteo. I was so enjoying the salmon panang ($18.95) I simply responded: “This is so good!”
Sometimes, the least said is all that needs to be said, you know?
Janice ordered the red curry with brown rice and asked for a “three” on the restaurant’s spice range of one through five.
“The first taste of red sauce was smooth and creamy — then came the heat, which escalated gradually until it reached full flavor,” she said. “It was a surprising, delicious experience. I’ve had other curries that hit you all at once with the heat. Thai Waterside allows you to savor the buildup.”
The kitchen didn’t skimp on the vegetables, which included a medley of red pepper, broccoli and carrots that were crisp-tender.
Janice called the tofu firm but silky, “and there was plenty of it,” she said.
My grilled fresh filet of salmon was topped with shrimp and a panang curry sauce served with spinach, bell pepper, snow peas and broccoli.
I had based my selection in part on the recommendation of a local, who recently dined there and called the dish “superb.”
I won’t argue with that description, and in fact will second it.
The restaurant opened this summer in the home of the former Ambrosia restaurant near the Rosehill Community Center.
With just eight tables inside, it’s another of those restaurants where you almost feel as if you dropped into a friend’s house to have them cook a meal for you.
There are tables outside as well, but with the pending change in season, plan on calling ahead for a reservation. It was busy on a weeknight.
Despite being a restaurant of relatively modest size, its menu is robust.
The 14 appetizers include crab Rangoon, fried crab wontons with sweet and sour sauce ($6.95); fruit fresh rolls — which I really wanted to try but will have to leave for another time — with mango, avocado, carrot, red cabbage, cucumber, mint and basil wrapped in a rice sheet with tamarind sauce ($6.95); and the Waterside sampler, which consists of spring rolls, pot stickers, crab Rangoon, shrimp hom pha and fried calamari with sauce ($15.95).
Salads include papaya salad ($9.95 or $11.95 with prawns) with shredded green papaya, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, lime juice and fresh chili; and tuna salad with red onion, chili, lemongrass, lime juice and mayonnaise ($10.95).
The chef specials, in addition to the salmon panang, include roast duck ($19.95) a braised pork leg ($19.95) and spaghetti with Thai sausage ($14.95).
There are six curries, and my colleague had a tip on dealing with the requested heat level.
If you want to mute the sweetness of the coconut milk, ask for a side of chili sauce, she advised. The chili sauce adds tart, vinegary notes to the red curry sauce.
Janice wrapped up her dining experience this way: “This was one of the best red curry dishes I’ve ever eaten. On a warm summer day, I might ask for a “four” on the spice level — just because I love heat.”
She promised to be back with her curry-craving friends. I’ll be back, too, with friends who want to sample Thai cuisine.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: Thai Waterside
Where: 415 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
More: 425-355-7393 or www.thaiwaterside.com