I have never been more excited for a restarant’s demise and subsequent rebirth as I was to see Sally’s Middle Name disappear and become reincarnated as fancy-pants Burmese joint Thamee. Anybody who has ever talked to me in real life for more than eight minutes has heard me profess my undying love for Mandalay. I was eager to find out if I could get my spicy fix within a walkable distance.
Thamee has a small menu, quite unlike Mandalay’s Cheesecake Factory-style novella, and it doesn’t include nan gyi thoke, the room temperature noodle dish that is basically the hallmark of Burmese cuisine. Strike one. Our server gave us a rundown of the menu and told us about his favorite dishes (i.e. he listed every single plate on the menu). We ordered drinks–the Nagini and the Fatty, and continued to debate the relative merits of each dish.
Drinks were good–the Nagini was spicy but a little too sweet, and the Fatty was basically an Old Fashioned; I say this as a statement of fact, not a criticism. We ended up ordering more than we initially planned to because the server was a persistent upseller and my husband was smiling and nodding and not looking at prices.
The first round included the white flower mushroom and chicken salad (left) and the chicken gizzard wonton cups. The mushrooms had a crisp texture and a strong fermented flavor. They were similar to woodear mushrooms, but with more crunch. The fish sauce was flavorful but not overwhelming, and it had a light level of spice. There was very little chicken, however. The wonton cups featured tender organ meats that were surprisingly bland. Extra surprising because this was highly recommended by the world’s most recommend-y server.
Next up was the turmeric rice, curry meatballs, and the spicy shoots and greens (the latter being a dish we didn’t plan to order but were upsold at the eleventh hour). My husband complained that the meatballs were “too Indian” but maybe this could be explained by regional differences within Myanmar. It had a strong curry flavor and thick sauce. The meatballs were big but yeah, just meatballs. The greens were fine but kind of basic and uninspired. Throw some bok choy and bamboo shoots in a wok with some spicy oil–bam. That’s what I cook during a snowstorm when I haven’t been able to leave the house and I don’t have any food left. There was a lot of it, but was it really worth $12?
Finally, the pièce de résistance: mogok meeshay, an exotic-sounding noodle dish with pork and pickled greens. It was…okay. Small amount of pretty boring sliced pork, little heat, and fairly sparse noodles. Like the chicken noodle soup of Myanmar.
“Well, that was pretty okay,” concluded my husband. Then the bill came. I think “pretty okay” would have summed up this meal if it had cost $80 for the two of us, but at $120, I won’t make this mistake again.
Price: $60 per person.
Bottom line: Skip it, go to Mandalay, burn your face off, pay half the price, and be happy.
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