Wow. Normally when I try someplace new I like to let the visit roll around in my head a bit before getting a review down, but this one needed no second thoughts. We visited the very-recently opened Celadon Thai Restaurant for lunch and it was fantastic.The glowing yelp reviews apparently caught the eye of our dining companions that were looking for Thai while visiting and asked us to meet them there for lunch. A pile of 5-star reviews and one 1-star review by someone upset by a frustrating experience trying to order takeout by phone. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems a little over the top, leaving a review of ‘terrible’ for that. For what it’s worth, multiple takeout orders were picked up while we were there, I guess a lot of other people didn’t have any trouble ordering.
Celadon‘s location isn’t exactly glamorous, just east of the Latham Circle, on the north side of 2, just about right across from Ala Shanghai, if you know where that is. Parking is probably just about adequate for the 12-15 tables (I didn’t count). The front is pretty basic, as you can see in the photo. Inside, everything is neat, clean, and spartan.Nothing on the walls, simple wood floor and tables.Everything is simple. Even the menu is shortish and to the point.Even before we got there, looking at the menu online I was eying the duck. I haven’t had duck very often, in fact I can only immediately think of one time off the top of my head, but I remember liking it a lot. The table got an order of Fresh Salad Rolls. They were grabbed up before I got a picture of the full presentation, but this should give you a good idea of what they are.Basically there were four tall pillars or lettuce with bean sprouts and a shrimp wrapped in (what I assume is) rice paper. They were served with a small cup of house peanut sauce. I didn’t try one, but the reviews were good from everyone else. For an entree, my wife got the Pan Fried Noodles with chicken.Being anti-spice, she got it without spice. It was quite good, nothing surprising. The lightly-flavored sauce was decent enough. The bit I had was tasty, if not as flavored as I might prefer. Apart from the baby corn she doesn’t like, the plate, like the others, was cleaned. Our visitors got, I think, the Panang Curry with Shrimp and Saucy Broccoli. The curry was ordered with a heat level of 3 (simple system of 1-4 with 4 being the hottest) and it was indeed described as hot.
I read the duck items over and over and decided on the Duck Basil.It was one of the best things I’ve had out in a while. I went with a ‘2’ and it was probably right for me, spicy without being too much, just a tiny bit of nose running. It was served with a healthy serving of sticky rice that’s not in the photo. It went well and helped cut the heat further. As you can see, green beans, green pepper, and other vegetables were served with a more-than-adequate quantity of delicious crispy duck. All was coated with the chili garlic sauce, it was a little funny, actually, to eat a piece of green pepper that was spicy. I feel like I’m getting carried away with my descriptions, but the vegetables were cooked perfectly, not too hard, not too soft, very Goldilocks. The photo does no service to the cute carrot flower garnish. The duck was tasty, especially the crispy slices mixed in with the veggies. I was a little thrown by how to eat the crispy legs given that you’re only given a fork and I didn’t think fingers were the way to go, but it turned out to be easy enough. The meat was stripped off with the fork while holding each leg by the end. Just a touch dry, but crispy (yes, I keep saying crispy) and yummy, especially when also run through the sauce.
I think this pretty much sums up my take on the food:I would add that, immediately after finishing, if someone had invited me there for dinner I’d have accepted (although 8 hours later, after just a handful of m&ms, I’m barely hungry after this feast). And, yes, if I’d had this at home I’d have gnawed what was left on those drumsticks.
The one negative I’ll throw out there regards the service and it is complete nitpicking. There were 3-5 other tables filled while we were there, but service was attentive and the food came out in a perfectly timely fashion. Three women were serving, which was plenty. My one nit is that they were simply too aggressive in clearing plates. As soon as someone finished, the server was there taking their plate away, even when this meant reaching across someone in the process of eating, like literally trying to put a forkful of food in their mouth. There really didn’t seem to be any need for this speed clearing. She actually tried to whisk away one person’s plate before they were finished. True, he didn’t have much left, but still.
So that’s it. The hype demonstrated on yelp is justified. The food was fantastic and the service, if anything, was only too attentive. Prices were in-line with the quality of ingredients. Not cheap, but I’d call it worth the price. I can’t wait to go back. My biggest concern, actually, is that because it’s small, once the word gets out it’s going to be hard to get in the place. I can’t believe it’s not going to be that popular. Four thumbs up from us.
We’ve been back to Celadon over and over since that first visit so I thought an update on a few more dishes was in order. Also, I would point out that the grabby service has not been repeated, not even once. The service has been excellent every time. Here are a few more items we’ve tried:
Chicken Satay appetizer – only had this once, I don’t recall that they were very different that other iterations I’ve had. Tasty enough.
Chicken Wings – I saw that someone posted a review saying these were worth trying so I did. Wow. These are awesome. Nothing amazing about the flavor of them, although the honey sauce on the side to pour on them is nice, it’s mostly just that they’re cooked SO WELL. I’ve gotten these probably 4 or 5 times and every wing has been perfectly crisp every time (they’re an unsauced, crispy fried wing, not sauced). A mix of wings and drums. Yummy. My favorite appetizer.
Royal Duck Curry – I liked this and might get it again, but I prefer my Duck Basil, still.
Orange Duck – Rounding out my efforts to work through their duck dishes, this is what I had most recently. My least favorite, but I had no trouble eating it. Not like an orange chicken you might get from your Chinese takeout, but chunks of orange zest mixed in. Not overly sweet. It was OK. Mainly I just prefer the vegetable mix with the Duck Basil.
Finally, my wife has had a number of various noodle dishes and they’ve generally been well received.