Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Thai Must Try: Blue Elephant

Photo by Shad Bookout
I was thrilled to find out recently that our Lake Mary side of town got a Blue Elephant Thai restaurant, since International Drive sports the only other Blue Elephant in the area. This is upscale Thai cuisine at its finest. I appreciate how authentic the food at this particular location really is: the chef only speaks Thai!

When I first walked into Blue Elephant, I was struck by the beautiful decor, including fountains with floating flowers and candles, and an amazing glass light sculpture over the bar. After being greeted by an attentive server and manager - who visits every table - the next thing I was impressed by were the prices. For a place with such beautiful decor, I did not expect to see several choices of curries on the menu for $12.95 each (the traditional Basil Sauce Curry is one of the eatery's most popular curry dishes). Plus, the new restaurant is going to be offering several lunch and dinner specials.
Whole Snapper Rock - Photo by Shad Bookout

Although all of the appetizers were tempting, we started with the Tuna Tartar Wonton ($11), which includes rare tuna, avocados, wasabi, and jalapeno atop a crispy wonton. This was flavorful, and different from any other tuna tartar we have had. We also tried the B.E. (chicken) Dumpling which was so good. For $6, we were served six dumplings, so that was a great deal!

For dinner, we decided to try a couple of the house specialties as a treat. The Crispy Whole Snapper Rock ($24) was delicious and had a very unique presentation. The glaze - a sweet chili sauce with bell peppers and onions - slightly overwhelmed the dish, but the flavor was still amazing and the fish was cooked perfectly. We also loved the unique Crispy Duck Zee's ($19), crispy duck breast served with red curry sauce, pineapple, basil, tomato, lime leaf, and bell peppers. The curry sauce was truly the best curry sauce that I have had to date: very light and flavorful. And the combination of curry, rice, pineapple, and duck all worked together very well. The duck was slightly dry, but that is to be expected when a dish is fried.
B.E. Dumpling
Photo by Shad Bookout

We also were very impressed with the number of signature cocktails on the menu - two pages worth! - and how tasty they were. I would highly recommend ordering "Inspire", a mix of Mekhong Rum, pear liqueur, and ginger liqueur, and the "Thai Fantasy", which sort of tasted like a Screwdriver.

Where: 951 Market Promenade Ave., Ste. 1101, Lake Mary, Fla.

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