Opinion and Restaurants and Dining Reviews and Retail and Real Estate & Retail

DINING: iPhone app leads us to Siam Square

March 2, 2009
It wasn't the buzz that finally got us to Siam Square, the Thai restaurant in Fountain Square we've heard so much about. No, we were led there by the luck of the draw. Or the spin, as it were.

This month, we threw caution — and dining preferences — to the wind and employed the help of the Urban Spoon iPhone application to make our dining choices. The program works much like a slot machine, with three reels that spin to generate a random combination. One represents a neighborhood, one a type of cuisine and one a price range. Give the phone a shake, and the reels start spinning. When they stop, the result generates a restaurant suggestion.

We locked in specific neighborhoods to ensure geographic diversity and spun again if we came up with a chain restaurant or a place we'd reviewed before.

Siam Square (936 Virginia Ave., 636-8424) was our first stop — Fountain Square — Thai — $$, just for the record. Fate may have directed us there, but food will be the reason we return.

Everything we tried was excellent, from the flaky goodness of the chicken-stuffed Curry Puffs appetizer ($6.50) to the buttery sweetness of the Roti Rolls dessert ($5.50).

And there was plenty more to like in between.

We ordered from the $7.99 lunch specials lineup, a standing array of popular dishes that come with a small fried spring roll and a cup of spicy soup. The spiciness of each meal can be customized based on the diner's preference. We like it hot.

Classic Pad Thai was the obvious choice, and a good one. The dish-fried rice noodles mixed with bean sprouts, scallions, peanuts and chicken, for the uninitiated — delivered the expected cornucopia of flavor.

We picked the other meal much like we pick the ponies come Derby time — based entirely on the name. Really, who can pass up something called Kapow? True to its name, the stir-fry (available with chicken or tofu) packed a punch. The peppers, onions and mushrooms were obviously fresh, and the black licorice-like basil was evident without being overpowering.

All in all, it was the best spin of the wheel I've had in a long while. And unlike most of my slot machine experiences, I certainly came away feeling like a winner.
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