Don’t know about you folks, but I sure like to be surprised when I walk into a new culinary destination and discover more than what I had expected to find on the gastronomical repertoire being offered, which really fuels my sense of adventure! This usually happens when I walk into a “themed establishment” and find and savor delights on the menu that I have perhaps not anticipated, or better still, never experienced before. The surprise and delight for me is not dissimilar to what I see in the eyes of my wife when I present her with a rather ordinary looking package bereft of any embellishments that she opens up to discover her much coveted diamond ring or ornament of choice!:-)
An establishment that is now de-rigueur for me in Philadelphia, is The Teikoku that (although billed as a Japanese-Thai restaurant) presents such inexorable delights for the connoisseur of Asian cuisine that you probably need at least three excursions to merely sample a subset of the heart warming variety offered!
What brings me back for more:
The Teikoku in Philadelphia with its decidedly nouvelle-Pan-Asian fusion repertoire, spanning Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, Singaporean, Malay and hold your breath, even a bit of American and Mediterranean/ Middle-Eastern cuisine, delivers dainty surprises at the dinner table that one does not quite anticipate walking in!
The ambiance is warm, inviting, friendly and incredibly elegant, and well complemented with the customer service par excellence that its owners Win and Sutida Somboonsong are rightfully proud of.
The interior is reminiscent of a temple one would find in Bali, Indonesia, or interior Japan, complete with date palms, walnut wood furniture, embellished with a tasteful touch of bamboo and adorned with some really magnificent object d’art imported from across the Orient. Upon entering, guests walk through a "mini temple" with a wall of Japanese rain chains that collect falling water as it passes through hanging copper cups that drip into a stone garden, reminiscent of Buddhist and Hindu temples from the Orient.
- Shrimp Tom Yum from Thailand served up in the largest soup of bowl I have ever set my eyes on, with the pungency and spices delivered just right! Also highly recommended in the Tom Ka Gai which is a rich coconut milk broth with oyster, chicken and mushrooms…yum yum!
- Yellow Tail Ceviche, a signature dish comprising sashimi sliced Yellowtail flavored with hot yellow pepper sauce, onion and fresh citrus juice that looks just as good as it tastes!
- Sushi and Sashimi from Japan, rolled with the freshest fish and delivered with wasabi, sliced ginger and soya sauce, to tickle my seafood palate, and prepare me for the gratification ahead! Favorites from the expansive menu offered are the Moguro (Tuna), Sake (salmon), Hamachi (Yellowtail), Unagi (Fresh Water Eel), Uni (Sea Urchin) and Toro (Fatty Tuna)
- Chicken Satay from Thailand/Indonesia, accompanied by a peanut and pineapple sauce that was really delightful and got me yearning for more!
- Thai Seafood Paella - a heart warming variation of the popular Spanish staple rendered with a Thai red curry infusion and a touch of cilantro – sends my salivary glands on overdrive writing about it!
- Lobster in Brandy - Red Curry - Sauteed whole 1 1/2 lb. lobster & vegetables in a Thai red curry brandy sauce & crispy noodles, that is "extravagance personified" and sheer indulgence for your taste buds!
- Seafood Drunken presents wok stir-fried noodles with shrimp, scallops, squid and basil in a Thai chilli sauce – a Thai seafood lover’s delight!
- Chilean Sea Bass rendered with a subtle Chinese touch with baby bok choy and shitake mushrooms in a ginger soybean sauce that had my colleague speechless with delight!
- Sesame Crusted Tuna – pan seared and thinly sliced tuna with mashed yam in a chili soy sauce served with plantain – a seafood fantasy come alive!
- Sesame Chicken - wok stir-fried crispy chicken in a sweet Kumquat sauce, that is exotic and a delight for white meat lovers.
- Kobe Beef Sushi or Sashimi – a specialty from Japan that comprises seared kobe beef, cut either sashimi style and served with Ponzu-Wasabi dipping sauce, or sliced and hand molded with vinegered rice Sushi style which had our colleague from Japan in raptures!
- Pan roasted, herb-dusted Lamb Chops from the Mediterranean, embellished with Lebanese/ Greek tapas sides like Hummus, Tzatziki, Tabouleh salad, Salsa and cumin scented mixed mushrooms with potato puree – that took me by surprise, especially the sumptuous presentation like I have never seen before, that will pull me back there to gratify my senses again and again! They also deliver this with a Thai fiery red curry currently, which is truly over the top!
- The Fresh fruit and chocolate fondue was a fruit fantasy undulating itself in front of my eyes and bathed in the freshly molten chocolate, delivered sensual gratification to my taste buds – you gotta enjoy the movie Chocolat to really appreciate my drift!
- The Chocolate Tower was unlike anything I had seen before- sinfully delightful that craved instant gratification!
I strongly urge you to discover the delights of this "Museum of Post-Modern Pan-Asian Culinary Art" the next time you are in Philadelphia, in search of a gastronomical adventure you will want to brag home about!:-)
This adventure in Philadelphia begins at: The Teikoku Restaurant, 5492 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073. Tel # (610) 644-8270. Reservations highly recommended.Click here for the Google Map and Directions.
Comments: Ashtad said...
Dear Andy, this is heaven....thanx for your ever so charming attitude towards life and especially food!
Ashtad E, Indianapolis, IN June 14, 2007 2:04 PM
Anonymous said...Andy, My hubby and I were visiting Philly and wanted to try a very special place for our anniversary. A friend of mine pointed me to your blog and we discovered this incredible place called Teikoku that you have rightfully waxed eloquent about.
We had a really memorable Anniversary Dinner at this delightful restaurant we would not have discovered but for your recommendation! God bless you and do keep up this excellent work!
Megan S, Miami, FL June 12, 2007 1:43 PM