You can spice up your life at Thai-Am No. 2“The Madeira Beach restaurant serves upauthentic Thai food with a multiplicityof choices, even for vegetarians.”By LEANORA MINAITimes Staff WriterMADEIRA BEACH—It is 9 p.m. on Monday, and Thai-Am No. 2 is bustling. A waitress is working six tables; a cashier is taking an order by phone.The menu draws us closer “Experience the Spice of Life... Try Authentic Thai Food."The neat thing about Thai-Am is it has two menus. One is for vegetarians, with—count 'em—44 items. The other, for meat lovers, is replete with curry, seafood and duck entrees."I’m impressed," said my friend, Susan MacMurchy, a Seminole resident and aquatics specialist who joined me for dinner. "You don't go to many places and find a vegetarian menu like this."She is right.The meatless menu is amazing. Many dishes on the veggie board feature tofu, protein-rich soybean that tastes like bland cheese. But wait; don't get grossed out When cooked and spiced right, it is a delicious, low-fat meal.Thai-Am would be a good place to try it.You can select non-tofu dishes, too. There's a tempting selection of vegetable curries in red or green sauce. There's also a string bean and bean curd curry entree.Now, for our meal.As an appetizer, we ordered a tofu soup, $2.50. I tasted a spoonful but did not care for it.The menu described the soup as having soft tofu, mushrooms, vegetables and garlic sauce. I could not taste any garlic. The clear broth was very bland.But do not—I repeat, do not—write off the place based on this soup.The rest of the meal was top-notch, and hot and spicy.We ordered the black pepper and garlic (Pad Kha-Teim Prik Tai) for $5.95. We got deep-fried (yikes!) tofu cubes sautéed with black pepper and garlic with steamed broccoli, cabbage, carrots and baby corn in a light brown broth.This tofu is crispy on the outside and soft inside. It is not heavy or greasy. Heap a mound on the white rice that comes with the dish, and you're set. Plenty of pepper flakes remain in your dish when you finish.Thai-Am is for meat lovers, too. It offers beef and chidden in creamy coconut milk. You can mix beef, chicken or pork in most any dish for $5.95. The duck dishes are the most expensive specialties. You can get the bird crispy, roasted, curried.We ordered shrimp curry (Geang Sapparod Goong), $7.95. Thai-Am could have been a little more generous with its shrimp, but they were cooked just right, not too tough. And they had the tails off!The baby prawns were sautéed with chunks of canned pineapple in a red paste and coconut milk. The fruit gave the dish a sweet and sour flavor.As our last entree, we ordered the old reliable (and my favorite) pad Thai ($5.95). Pad Thai is like the noodles you get in Chinese restaurants, but spicy. It has stir-fried rice noodles with scallions and bean sprouts in a red paste. Cubes of tofu lie on the bottom and scrambled egg and ground peanuts are spread over the top. Squeeze the provided lime wedge over the noodles and mix them with some rice.Not only was the meal delicious, but the service was friendly and fast Thai-Am sits across from the Gulf, perfect for a takeout meal on the sand at sunset.
St. Petersburg TimesTASTETHURSDAY, AUGUST 1, 1996 THE TIMESSOUTH PINELLAS * * * * THURSDAY, AUGUST 1, 1996 TIMES 3D