Tucked into the back of a strip mall off busy Meridian Avenue East is South Hill’s newest restaurant.
Charm Thai opened in mid-October in the former home of Julie’s Gluten Free Bakery.
Weev Tangthanawiroot, the owner, operated Phra Khun Thai Bistro for seven years in Des Moines before deciding Puyallup would be home to her next business.
Here are first-bite impressions. It’s this paper’s policy to withhold criticism during a restaurant’s first month, which is why the focus here is on descriptions:
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Dining room: The restaurant is small with about 40 seats.
Menu: Like most Thai restaurants in the area, the menu is huge, sprawling across five pages.
Menu highlights: One page of appetizers, soups and salads; seven curries (starting at $9.95); nine wok dishes (starting at $9.95); four fried rices ($8.95-$12.95); eight noodle dishes ($9.50-$10.95); and nine chef’s specials ($10.95-$15.95).
Try the: Kee mao noodles ($9.50) with broad, chewy noodles, a tangle of basil leaves and a salty-sweet sauce stir fried with egg, broccoli and onions. Panang curry ($9.50) with pork was topped with a drizzle of coconut milk and a raft of lime leaves, cut into delicate slivers, which permeated the peanut-spiked curry broth with its assertive lime flavor. Mango prawns ($12.95) held abundant portions of roasted cashews and steamed broccoli in a sweetened, curry-tinged sauce.
Spicing: Accurate. The requested 2.5 stars for all dishes tasted in the medium heat range.
Desserts: One of the longer Thai dessert menus in the area with nine choices ($2.95-$5.95). Green tea ice cream, mango and sticky rice (seasonal), mango mousse cake, black sticky rice pudding and banana in coconut milk are on the list.
Did you say delivery? Charm Thai has an advantage over its competing South Hill Thai restaurants (including Ayothaya, Chili Thai and Bangkok Thai, all near the South Hill Mall). Charm Thai offers free delivery for orders more than $25 within 2 miles of the restaurant, with a delivery fee starting at $3 for those outside that range. It’s not the only new restaurant in South Hill to offer delivery. Fry Pan Chinese opened two months ago and offers delivery for a fee. And longtime South Hill Chinese restaurant Rose Garden also advertises delivery with a $20 minimum.
Info: 16126 Meridian Ave. E., Puyallup; 253-268-0165 or charmthaionpuyallup.com.
Serving: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (lunch only) Sundays unless by reservation.