Saturday, March 26, 2011

Silk Elephant Thai Tapas and Wine Bar (Squirrel Hill)

FamJam in Pittsburgh 2011
Stop #5 (Saturday Dinner): Silk Elephant in Squirrel Hill

This is the sixth in a series of posts on my family's first visit to Pittsburgh.  To start from the beginning with Friday's lunch, click here.

My whole family loves Thai food, so I thought they might like that for Saturday's dinner.  My parents can get a bit snobby when it comes to Thai food and my brother spent four whole months in Thailand last year, so there was a lot of pressure in selecting a Thai restaurant that would be of high quality to satisfy my family's lofty standards.  Luckily, I had been to Silk Elephant in Squirrel Hill before and knew the food to be excellent.  And even though tapas is not traditionally Thai, I thought it would add a unique element to one of our favorite cuisines.

(Update 3/27/2011: Silk Elephant has just received an award from the Thai government as serving authentic Thai cuisine. Just the second in Pittsburgh to receive the honor! Click here to read more.)

We each made some selections and dined family-style like real Asians do.  My camera was snapping away as the dishes were brought out, so I will let the photos do the talking.

The six of us shared... soup:

Tom Yum Soup
A very spicy hot and sour soup with shrimp, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. salad:

Mango Salad
They don't skimp on the shredded mango in this one!

...five tapas:

Taro Crunch
Taro dipped in a black sesame batter and deep fried - take a wild guess on who picked this one! ;)

Thai Crab Crowns
Crab with cream cheese inside a crispy wonton wrap.

Salmon Dumplings
Topped with wasabi sauce.

Siam Paragon
According to my brother, Siam Paragon is the name of a famous shopping mall in Bangkok. Not sure why this dish is called that, but it is delicious and is a signature item at Silk Elephant, with shrimp and crab wrapped in crunchy egg noodles and served with a curry sauce.

Seaweed Duck Roll
This was on the specials menu, with duck wrapped in a seaweed and deep fried, topped with bean sprouts.

...and four entrees:

Pad See Ew
Thick noodles with broccoli and a brown sauce, and we ordered it with chicken.  My brother was very impressed with this one, noting that it tastes just like how they make it in Thailand.

Duck Curry
A very good duck curry dish with grapes, pineapples, and tomatoes, reminiscent of the duck curry I had in Thailand last year.  Oh Thailand, how I miss you!

Sea Bass with Papaya Salad
This one is off the specials menu, and pretty self-explanatory.  Unfortunately, the sea bass is hidden underneath the salad so you can't really see it, but really, it's there and it's good.

Pumpkin Curry
Another great curry dish also off the specials menu. We ordered it with chicken.

This was entirely too much food for us, but we nonetheless enjoyed every last bite.  I also wanted to commend the service at Silk Elephant as everything was impeccably timed.  On a more general note, I also like that Silk Elephant has a nice atmosphere and is very spacious.  There are other excellent Thai restaurants in Pittsburgh that I would love to try, but I stuck with Silk Elephant this time around because I knew their space would be comfortable for a group, not to mention that it is conveniently located right across the street from the best frozen yogurt in town! ;)

Next up:  Saturday night's post-dinner dessert at Razzy Fresh.

Restaurant info:
Silk Elephant Thai Tapas and Wine Bar
1712 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 
Phone: (412)421-8801

Silk Elephant on Urbanspoon