Saturday, April 12, 2008

Silk Elephant: A taste of things to come

Silk Elephant
1712 Murray Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

We went to Silk Elephant for dinner Friday night, after a day of work and practice. Silk Elephant opened in 2006, by the owners of Bangkok Balcony up the street in Squirrel Hill. The owners, Norraset and Eileen have greeted me on many occasions, both in their restaurant and in various functions serving the asian community around town. (I don't remember how Norraset and I were first introduced) In keeping with our desire to use vendors that are as close (social, geographic or otherwise) as possible, we are asking them to cater appetizers for our wedding reception.

The concept of Silk Elephant is a Thai Tapas and wine bar. To state it in more proper foodie terms, Silk Elephant is a thai tasting menu restaurant. Lots of small dishes that are expected to be shared (as opposed to the large entrees that are normal restaurant center pieces). And while the word 'fusion' has been used to describe it, I would just call it Thai inspired and creative (fusion implies that another style of cuisine was fused into it, which is usually the case with other more properly labeled Thai fusion restaurants). I have the opinion (surprise!) that their is a difference between a cook and a chef, a chef is creative. (which is why I don't take part in discussions about 'authentic' food at a restaurant)

When we (three of us) arrived, we told the hostess of our reservation, and we were recognized by the manager (who had helped us pick our dishes for the reception). Of course we were greeted, and the purpose of the meal was understood. Earlier he had sent me an email to remind me of our selection for the reception, which we were going to try today.

-Siam Paragon
-Rack of Lamb
-Fresh Rolls
-Curry Puff - Taro
-Moon Goon Steamed Dumpling

Siam Paragon
Siam Paragon at Silk Elephant

Rack of Lamb
Rack of Lamb at Siam Paragon

Fresh Rolls
Fresh Rolls at Siam Paragon

All in all, a pleasant and enjoyable meal. Dishes well prepared, and a nice mix. And the conversation and company were wonderful. Norraset came by and we talked of my going to Afghanistan and return, and about family, and about living in Pittsburgh.

There are many things that make life interesting, and we've come to appreciate the fact that Pittsburgh is the type of place where you can go to a restaurant and have a human conversation with owners, even if you are not a regular (I can count on my fingers the number of times I've been to Silk Elephant, although I've come across Norraset on many occasions outside of his restaurant.) He is a prior awardee of Pittsburgh 40 under 40, we were eating with a Steinway artist (i.e. a very good pianist), and we were two young, recently arrived people, still in the early stages of making our way in the world. It is a good life.
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