My family travels to Thailand every year, so we have pretty high standards for Thai food.
This restaurant suffers from exactly the opposite problem I have with most American Thai restaurants -- they so often have nice interiors and charming servers, but disappointing food.
New Siam's food is actually pretty good. The ingredients seemed fresh, and the preparation was authentic. But the ambience is truly awful.
It really is possible to make a strip mall restaurant appealing. This place, however, felt positively dystopic. The decor was practically nonexistent, as if the owner simply moved in and threw some tables around the room. There was certainly little to indicate that this is a Thai restaurant.
The lighting was dim, but not in that romantic sort of way, and the entire front window of the place was covered, which made no sense, given the beautiful sunset that was, presumably occurring somewhere outside at the time.
Open up the blinds! Turn up the lights! Put some flowers on the table and play some Thai music, and you've improved this place by like 200%.
And at the risk of sounding tokenistic, it didn't appear that anyone working at the restaurant was Asian, much less Thai. Very strange.
The food tasted, well, fine. But by the time our meal was half-finished, I was more than ready to get out of that place. I'm not particularly interested in going back, and I look forward to finding another good Thai place to visit in Jacksonville.
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