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Siam's House in Niles

Siam's House in Niles
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  • Siam's House in Niles

    Post #1 - August 5th, 2004, 11:29 am
    Post #1 - August 5th, 2004, 11:29 am Post #1 - August 5th, 2004, 11:29 am
    This Saturday I wanted Thai food, but didn't feel like going in to the City from my north shore home. Siam's House on Milwaukee Ave. in Niles is the only surburban Thai place that has received some good comments on "the boards." We gave it a try and I liked it.

    We had an excellent fish maw salad, a good Thai grilled chicken, a nice noodle dish, a typical green curry, and a basil eggplant dish I didn't care for (undercooked, for me).

    I'm no Thai food expert and will not begin to assess its merits versus the many well-discussed Thai restaurants in the City. My guess is that are better places in the City, but for a suburban place, this is quite nice. Almost all of the seated customers were Thai (the people getting take-out were not). Service was friendly, but not great on recommending dishes. The heat level was very mild, and next time I would ask them to fire it up a bit, which I'm sure they did for the Thai customers.

    Siam's House
    7742 N Milwaukee Ave
    Niles, IL 60714
    847-967-2390
  • Post #2 - August 5th, 2004, 4:15 pm
    Post #2 - August 5th, 2004, 4:15 pm Post #2 - August 5th, 2004, 4:15 pm
    Jonah wrote:The heat level was very mild, and next time I would ask them to fire it up a bit, which I'm sure they did for the Thai customers.


    Be sure to remind them that you have been there beofre when making the heat level request. They seem to always tone it down no matter what you say unless they know you are serious about the heat level. My first visit there was dissapointing simply for that reason. I asked for my food seasoned "thai hot" and I got it "Gringo Mild". If I hadn't engaged the servers in a conversation about my expectations, I probably never would have gone back again. Since then, the food has always been good to very good.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - July 17th, 2007, 11:55 am
    Post #3 - July 17th, 2007, 11:55 am Post #3 - July 17th, 2007, 11:55 am
    We dined with some friends at Siam's House this weekend and thought it was, for the most part, excellent. We'd never been there before but it had been recommended by several folks here, on this thread. Additionally, the friends with whom we were dining recommended it very highly and said that some folks they know, who work at the Thai consulate, consider it to be their favorite Thai place in the Chicago area. All that -- plus Steve Dolinsky's picture on the wall -- added up to a ringing endorsement that I could not resist. I've been on something of a Thai food kick lately and was thrilled to find another quality source for it in the northern burbs.


    Image
    Chive dumplings
    These stacked up quite well against just about every rendition I've ever had. They were delicately crispy on the outside (both sides were nearly perfect) and the filling was quite tasty.


    Image
    Chicken satay
    Nicely charred, juicy and quite tasty.


    Image
    Northern-style sausage
    I've only had this sausage about 4 times but this was a great rendition that was better than the one I enjoyed at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. Here the sausage was more moist than I'm used to but I really enjoyed it that way.


    Image
    Angel wings
    These tasty, pan-fried units are described on the menu as "boneless chicken wings [although, these were not entirely boneless], stuffed with ground chicken, sweet corn, dry mushrooms, green peas and bean thread." Really delicious.


    Image
    Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)
    Usually one of my favorite dishes, this version was the only 'let down' of the night. And I'll admit that our negotiating over how spicy we wanted it may have been the cause. This dish usually typifies what I love about Thai food but in this case, that brightness of bold, complementary flavors was not present. Again, we should have just ordered it 'spicy' and seen how it could have been.


    Image
    Pad Thai with Shrimp
    An excellent, if not exceptional, rendition. I really loved the balance of flavors and textures. Our friends told us going in that they loved this version and it was easy to see why.


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    Red Curry Beef
    Fiery, pungent and complex, this curry was really enjoyable. I thought the beef was a good choice (also available with pork, shrimp or chicken) but the curry was so good, I kept on pouring it over my rice long after the beef was gone.


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    Basil Eggplant
    This appears to be one of those 'specials' that's always available. I generally like my pieces of eggplant smaller but this dish was tasty, even if the textures were not optimal for me.


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    Roast Duck on rice
    Fairy straightforward dish but well-executed. The duck was moist and appetizingly fatty. The sauce was delicious.


    Image
    Basil Pork
    This is another one of those dishes that I really love and I like to order it at most Thai places, to see how it is handled (Opart Thai produces my favorite rendition). Here, I loved the fine grind on the pork and the intensity of flavors. I prefer the finished product to be bit saucier because it makes for a more enjoyable eating experience (combined with rice) but this slightly-drier-than-I'm-used-to version was very delicious in its own right.

    For dessert, we headed up the street to Village Creamery, for some delicious, made-on-premises ice creams.

    =R=


    Siam's House
    7742 N Milwaukee Ave
    Niles, IL 60714
    (847) 967-2390

    Village Creamery
    8000 N Waukegan Rd
    Niles, IL 60714
    (847) 965-9805
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - July 17th, 2007, 12:31 pm
    Post #4 - July 17th, 2007, 12:31 pm Post #4 - July 17th, 2007, 12:31 pm
    Don't post twice, it's alright . . .
  • Post #5 - July 17th, 2007, 2:49 pm
    Post #5 - July 17th, 2007, 2:49 pm Post #5 - July 17th, 2007, 2:49 pm
    cilantro wrote:Don't post twice, it's alright . . .

    Heh . . . not sure how that happened. :?

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #6 - July 17th, 2007, 3:07 pm
    Post #6 - July 17th, 2007, 3:07 pm Post #6 - July 17th, 2007, 3:07 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    cilantro wrote:Don't post twice, it's alright . . .

    Heh . . . not sure how that happened. :?

    =R=


    It happens occasionally ... meanwhile the extra post was deleted.

    Regards,
  • Post #7 - July 17th, 2007, 3:09 pm
    Post #7 - July 17th, 2007, 3:09 pm Post #7 - July 17th, 2007, 3:09 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    cilantro wrote:Don't post twice, it's alright . . .

    Heh . . . not sure how that happened. :?

    =R=


    It happens occasionally ... meanwhile the extra post was deleted.

    Regards,

    Thank you, Cathy.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #8 - August 16th, 2007, 6:55 pm
    Post #8 - August 16th, 2007, 6:55 pm Post #8 - August 16th, 2007, 6:55 pm
    We decided to try Siam's House for dinner tonight. As it turns out, we were generally disappointed in our meal.

    The pleasant waitress took our order. She asked how spicy we liked everything, and we told her how we like it (medium, fairly hot but not burn-your-head-off hot). As it turns out, everything was prepared with the specified level of hotness. Kudos for that.

    We started with a drink. My SO had a Singha, and I had the cha yen (Thai iced tea). This was not one of the better cha yens I've had; it was way too sweet and syrupy (cha yen is normally sweet, but not this sweet) without the characteristic smoky tea flavor to offset the sweetness.

    The first dish was great. We had the satay gai (chicken satay), and it was excellent. Plump, juicy, flavorful, with a nice char on the outside, served with lots of peanut sauce and lots of sliced cucumber (enough that we did plenty of cucumber dipping after we finished the satay). And, unlike every other Thai place on the planet (or so it seems), they serve an even number of skewers, six. Not that that aspect is a big deal, it's not; it's just more of a curiosity than anything else.

    Unfortunately, that was the best dish of the meal, and it was followed by the worst. The next item was the tom kha gai (soup made of chicken, galanga, lemongrass, coconut milk, etc). When it arrived at the table, there was a thick pool of rather disgusting orange oil floating on top. I was able to use my skimming skills to remove as much of the oil as I could. Even aside from the excess oil, though, the soup itself was, well, just not very good. The taste was too bland; it was reasonably spicy, as noted above, but other than that, there was just not that strong a taste to the broth, making it rather dishwatery. Granted, not every place (not even TAC Quick, IMHO) has tom kha gai as good as Thai Sookdee, my favorite, but this is the first time in ages that we have left over any tom kha gai, anywhere. 'nuff said.

    We had two mains. One was a daily special of basil mussels with chili paste. This dish was very good. The mussels tasted fresh, and the relatively small amount of sauce was nice and tasty.

    The second was less successful. This was panang gai (chicken curry). This too was excessively oily, although the oil was somewhat blended with the sauce, rather than sitting on top. Like the soup, the dish itself was a bit on the bland side - again, reasonably spicy, but not that tasty. Also, FWIW, the amount of liquid sauce in this dish was huge - not really a big plus or minus, but there was 4-5 times as much sauce as most other Thai places serve, even though panang normally comes with a fair amount of sauce.

    They didn't have khao niaow mamuang (mango with sticky rice), either on the menu or otherwise (we asked) so we skipped dessert.

    How would I rate Siam's House overall? I like to rate restaurants on the following scale:

    4 stars - Wow, Incredible (worth traveling long distances to dine)
    3 stars - Very Good (worth recommending to others)
    2 stars - Just Okay (worth visiting if you're in the neighborhood)
    1 star - Disappointing, seriously flawed (worth forgetting)
    0 stars - Dreadful (worth warning others away)

    On this scale, I would give Siam's House 1 star. By way of comparison, Thai Sookdee in Evanston, my current favorite Thai place in the Chicago area, rates 3 stars, as does Thai Pavilion 2 in Skokie; TAC Quick in Chicago gets 2.5 stars; and the other eight or so Thai places in Evanston and Skokie all get 1-2 stars, as do another four or so Thai places I've tried on the north side in the past couple of years.
  • Post #9 - August 16th, 2007, 8:02 pm
    Post #9 - August 16th, 2007, 8:02 pm Post #9 - August 16th, 2007, 8:02 pm
    We had lunch a little while back and the food was great. We sampled the chive dumpling/potstickers, perfect as pictured above, the som tom (also above), shrimp pad thai (also above) and the best dish of the day - Thai grilled chicken which was a steal at $7.25 for half of a marinated then grilled bird. It was spectacular, served with a spicy sour tamarind sauce and likely bottled sweet & sour sauce.

    Image
    Image

    We're raring to go back and try a few other items... and sample the Thai grilled chicken again.
  • Post #10 - September 23rd, 2008, 10:00 am
    Post #10 - September 23rd, 2008, 10:00 am Post #10 - September 23rd, 2008, 10:00 am
    Went to Siam House a few times this last trip.. Must say, the food here is wonderful.. I have had a chance now to compare this place to a few of my other favorite Thai places.. I think the biggest thing this place is suffering from is lack of interest.. Lack of interest and support from the local community.. I have mostly gone on weekday nights and during some trips I have been the only person in the restaurant.. Other trips on weeknights there have been a few take out orders and just a small handful of customers.. Weekend nights are better, I believe this is because a lot of out of town Thai people will travel to come here.. Because the restaurant can't support a full time wait staff, there is one waitress working on a Saturday night.. So with no busboys and one waitress, the wait tends to be long.

    How the heck can a kitchen have enthusiasm when there is little support from the community.. How can a restaurant maintain such a varied menu if there isnt anyone ordering food.. A place has to cut corners in order not to throw out tons of food.. Though, I have not noticed any quality issues.. IWould you be brave enough to order the mussel special on say a wednesday night? If this place was in New York, this place would be packed.

    Note this was over the course of a few meals.. As I stated in another thread, the best way to eat here is to order of the translated Thai Menu.. This was translated by a previous member of this board I believe.


    Pork Sausage.. Homemade sausage served with peanuts, hot peppers, and ginger.. The sausage is sour and meaty.. Its fantastic. The traditional way is to serve with sticky rice

    Image


    Another shot of the crispy catfish salad.. As Miss A stated, the cashews work better in this dish.. But the amount of catfish they give you is amazing. Wonderful salad and still might be my favorite preparation.

    Image

    This was a pretty intense papaya salad.. Served with dried shrimp and salty baby crab.. The salty crab is pretty intense. This dish is the most clear example of the hot, sour, salty, sweet. A shock to the sense and a great way to start a meal.. (The crab is pretty hardcore)

    Image

    Grilled chicken special.. This dish was fantastic.. When I was there on a Saturday, I was listening to the conversation in the restaurant.. I was the only non Asian person there and people were getting up and walking between the tables.. I over heard on older gentlemen say that he ordered the grilled chicken and it reminded him of the chicken he use to eat in Thailand. At like 7 bucks, I had to give it a try..

    The restaurant has lot of fighting cocks around the place.. Here is a painting on the wall.. I was wondering if I was eating the loser:

    Image

    Came with a lime, peanut, and pepper sauce.. Oh baby.

    Image

    Sweet and sour calamari:

    They have a version of calamari that is stuffed with pork and deep fried.. I will wait for another time to order it.. This seemed to be the more healthy version:

    Image

    Shrimp pad thai.. It was definitely not a dry version.. Its not my favorite dish but, this was good

    Image

    Saturday night mussels.. They were wonderful.. Served with lots of Thai Basil.. A fantastic preparation.

    Image

    My current favorite dish.. Strips of catfish cooked and then fried.. Served with long beans and a spicy red curry sauce.. This dish is outstandingly good..

    Image

    BBQ Pork dish is pretty amazing too:

    Image

    The pork leg and mustard green is my favorite pork dish here,should not be missed.

    Image

    Noodle dish:

    Image

    Crab fried rice:

    Image
  • Post #11 - September 26th, 2008, 10:45 am
    Post #11 - September 26th, 2008, 10:45 am Post #11 - September 26th, 2008, 10:45 am
    Wonderful post. Wonderful pictures. Wonderful restaurant.
  • Post #12 - September 26th, 2008, 11:10 am
    Post #12 - September 26th, 2008, 11:10 am Post #12 - September 26th, 2008, 11:10 am
    LAZ wrote:Wonderful post. Wonderful pictures. Wonderful restaurant.

    ^^ What she said! ^^ :)

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #13 - October 12th, 2008, 2:57 am
    Post #13 - October 12th, 2008, 2:57 am Post #13 - October 12th, 2008, 2:57 am
    One of my favorite dishes is beef Pad Kee Mao, which I almost always get when I go to a Thai restaurant. I have been to about a dozen Thai places in the Chicago area and simply put, this is the best Pad Kee Mao I've had. The portions are big and the noodles are tasty. I think it is a little spicier than what the average person is comfortable with, but that's exactly the way I prefer.

    I've also sampled the Thai Grilled Chicken once and it was excellent. I should get it again sometime, but I'm always drawn away by the thought of having the Pad Kee Mao!
  • Post #14 - December 14th, 2008, 3:02 pm
    Post #14 - December 14th, 2008, 3:02 pm Post #14 - December 14th, 2008, 3:02 pm
    Is this place still open? Or, are they closed on Sundays? I wanted to go there today and have been calling off and on for the last few hours, but there's no answer.
    "Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens..."
    - Wyatt Earp, Tombstone
  • Post #15 - December 14th, 2008, 5:51 pm
    Post #15 - December 14th, 2008, 5:51 pm Post #15 - December 14th, 2008, 5:51 pm
    They are indeed closed on Sundays - definitely still open - ate there last week. This place needs more love - less patrons due to economic downturn. I'd hate to lose such a fine, authentic and relatively inexpensive Thai treasure.

    Incidentally, took their 2nd to last copy of Thai-translated menu (they're not really handing it out these days) - do we still have that up somewhere? I was gonna repost for the benefit of LTH-er's.

    Ordered the crispy catfish stir-fried with long beans by showing 'em the picture of it in this thread on my iPhone.
  • Post #16 - December 15th, 2008, 8:41 am
    Post #16 - December 15th, 2008, 8:41 am Post #16 - December 15th, 2008, 8:41 am
    Jay K wrote:They are indeed closed on Sundays - definitely still open - ate there last week. This place needs more love - less patrons due to economic downturn. I'd hate to lose such a fine, authentic and relatively inexpensive Thai treasure.

    Incidentally, took their 2nd to last copy of Thai-translated menu (they're not really handing it out these days) - do we still have that up somewhere? I was gonna repost for the benefit of LTH-er's.

    Ordered the crispy catfish stir-fried with long beans by showing 'em the picture of it in this thread on my iPhone.



    You took the menu? You gotta leave it there for the rest of us? If you could post it that would be great?
  • Post #17 - December 15th, 2008, 6:55 pm
    Post #17 - December 15th, 2008, 6:55 pm Post #17 - December 15th, 2008, 6:55 pm
    Daniel wrote:You took the menu? You gotta leave it there for the rest of us? If you could post it that would be great?


    Yeah, it was strange, as I was leaving, the waitress (who's always there on the weekends) dug around in a bottom drawer, pulled out the translated menu and insistently gave it to me...

    I said, "Are you sure?"

    She says, "We've got one more copy."

    "One more copy? Shouldn't you keep this?"

    "No."

    She really wanted me to take it... so I told her I'd post it up.
  • Post #18 - December 15th, 2008, 9:56 pm
    Post #18 - December 15th, 2008, 9:56 pm Post #18 - December 15th, 2008, 9:56 pm
    --> Link to Erik M's 2005 Siam's House menu translation.

    Thanks again Erik.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - December 15th, 2008, 10:40 pm
    Post #19 - December 15th, 2008, 10:40 pm Post #19 - December 15th, 2008, 10:40 pm
    G Wiv wrote:--> Link to Erik M's 2005 Siam's House menu translation.

    Thanks again Erik.



    Thank you. Printing that out and putting it in my suitcase.
  • Post #20 - August 12th, 2014, 12:02 pm
    Post #20 - August 12th, 2014, 12:02 pm Post #20 - August 12th, 2014, 12:02 pm
    Food here is solid but the place is annoying. It's near my office and the lunchtime eat-in experience can be a bit slow, but acceptable. However, it seems like every time we try to order carry-out for the staff, things get inexplicably bogged down. Today, an hour after we called in our order for 10 (which we were told would take approximately 45 minutes), we were told that it'd be another 20 minutes until ready. This isn't the first time we've experienced this type of delay here.

    It was very nice of them to give us a 15% discount for the trouble but delaying lunch like this really screws up the office schedule. It would have been better if they'd quoted a more accurate time or just said they couldn't handle the order. For all its strengths, I guess it's just not a place where lunchtime carry-out is a viable option.

    I want my next office to be across the street from Aroy Thai. :D

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #21 - January 24th, 2015, 12:18 pm
    Post #21 - January 24th, 2015, 12:18 pm Post #21 - January 24th, 2015, 12:18 pm
    I guess I'm the only LTHer who still eats here and based on my most recent experience, not even that may last much longer. We sometimes head over from the office for a quick lunch at their buffet. It's not great but it's usually serviceable and without resorting to fast food, it's the quickest lunch we can have actually eating at a restaurant. There are only 6 items -- usually some fried spring rolls, pad thai, pad see ewe, a veg/tofu dish, a rice dish of some kind and pad kra pao. Like I said, good but not great.

    In any case, there are typically a few moments when they run out of one item or another and that's understandable. However, the last time we were in, they ran out of everything all at once and about 20 minutes passed during which there was no food (except for a few spring rolls) on the buffet - at 12:30 pm. Obviously, this added quite a bit of time to our lunch as we had to wait around to eat. And even then, the dishes were refilled one at a time. I think we were there for over an hour. If it happens again, I'll probably swear the place off for good but honestly, it was such an annoying experience, I'm already in no mood to go back any time soon.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #22 - January 24th, 2015, 1:50 pm
    Post #22 - January 24th, 2015, 1:50 pm Post #22 - January 24th, 2015, 1:50 pm
    Ronnie, I really enjoyed your posting and found myself laughing in agreement.

    I started going to the buffet there in 1998 when I got a job in Park Ridge close to Oakton St. Since that time, nothing has changed. The buffet items are all the same and the service is as abominable as ever. You are correct. They evidently can't prepare more than one dish at a time nor do they understand that there should always be food on the buffet for customers to eat. The only positive is now that I'm retired I can afford to kill an hour or so waiting for food.

    I rarely go there any more, but there are times when I get in the mood for the basil chicken which often makes my nose run. But, it still amazes me that they have not changed one item on that buffet in all these years.
    "Call any vegetable...and the chances are good the vegetable will respond to you."
    --Frank Zappa
  • Post #23 - November 6th, 2017, 1:11 pm
    Post #23 - November 6th, 2017, 1:11 pm Post #23 - November 6th, 2017, 1:11 pm
    This is still the closest and quickest lunch for us at work, so even though the place is -- on its very best day -- average, we continue to eat here about once a week.

    Their same-every-day, 6-item lunch buffet remains a mismanaged joke. Even on days when we arrive by 12:15, a couple of items are usually already depleted. When this happens, it's best to pull the rip cord and go somewhere else immediately. Even over the course of 20-30 minutes, these items do not typically get replenished. This kitchen is slower than molasses. In any case, after having this happen more often than not over my last several visits, I think I'll be taking some extended time off -- again -- from Siam's House.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #24 - May 6th, 2019, 2:31 pm
    Post #24 - May 6th, 2019, 2:31 pm Post #24 - May 6th, 2019, 2:31 pm
    on November 6, 2017, ronnie_suburban wrote:I think I'll be taking some extended time off -- again -- from Siam's House.

    546 days since my last visit but I needed to meet with some work people today and this was where they chose to meet. Walked in at about 12:25 pm and 2/6 of the buffet pans were empty. I'll say this for the place, at least it's very consistent! :lol:

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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