My wife and I had dinner at Cee Fine Thai Dining restaurant on a Friday as a treat for the end of a long work week. The restaurant is convenient for us as well, since it is less than three miles from our house. I thought some of the dishes were real stand-outs, but I also had some minor criticisms.
We started with two appetizers – crab cake and fried calamari. The calamari was a tad undercooked, although breaded and deep-fried, so that it was a bit rubbery. The crab cake was quite good, but the mixture of spices made it taste more like a veal sausage without much actual crab flavor. Both came with a dipping dish of sweet Thai chili sauce that looked like it was poured straight out of a bottle. My wife was looking forward to red curry salmon, but changed her order to what was listed as either spicy flounder or tilapia in chili sauce. I ordered sesame beef. While we never did learn whether we had flounder or tilapia, the fish was cooked well. The sesame beef was good as well but, unusually for an Asian restaurant, had been prepared in three, thin slices of whole filets that required that I cut them further into bite-sized pieces. In addition, they had been sprinkled with raw sesame seeds and came over what seemed like a teriyaki sauce. In short, while tender and tasty, the sesame beef didn’t really qualify from the “sesame” aspect.
Cee takes an interesting approach to distinguish itself from the half-dozen or so Thai restaurants in Fairfax. It offers a Thai cooking class on Sundays as well as wine tasting. Certainly unusual for a Thai restaurant, it has a long wine list and a good choice of beer, including Dog House ale and imported Japanese Kirin. The interior décor did not impress, but the establishment has almost wrap-around windows that let in lots of natural lighting. Our orders arrived promptly, with the wait staff stopping by to refill our water glasses and ask how we were doing in an efficient manner without being intrusive. The lack of business seemed odd, with less than half the tables filled at about 7:00, when we arrived. I can’t remember what restaurant used to be at the location, but I hope that Cee gets well established and is around for a while.
We tried the restaurant because we had a coupon that took $12 off our tab. Even so, we paid $74 with tip included for dinner for two. The tab is expensive for an Asian take-out restaurant, but I thought the preparation of the dishes, the service, and the ambience made it quite worthwhile. We did not have dessert, but we did drink two beers and a glass of Armand Cotes du Rhone wine.
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