In a recent attempt to find some good Thai places in the region, quite a few people recommended Celadon Thai in Latham. It’s not a fancy place or very authentic in terms of decorations and appearance, but the food was allegedly solid and affordable. I kept putting off going there (because usually when I’m in the area, I make my way to Ala Shanghai just down the road), but when I found myself driving by this weekend, I decided to finally stop in. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t that wowed by the meal.
For an appetizer, we tried the Fresh Salad Roll, which has lettuce, cucumber, and (one) shrimp inside each piece. I like lettuce, but man this was a lot of dry, plain lettuce. The side of peanut sauce for dipping was critical, and it had a good thick consistency and an interesting tangy peanut flavor, but it still felt like I was just eating lettuce. And the portion of shrimp was pretty disappointing.
I also tried a small bowl of Tom Yum Soup, which has a clear broth, tomatoes, mushrooms, lime, and shrimp. I opted for a medium spice level. Unfortunately, the soup was 90 percent broth, with a couple of tasteless shreds of tomato and a handful of mushrooms. It had a little bit of an off taste, and the medium was very hot. I chalked this one up to perhaps mis-ordering based on my spice tolerance. I always think I can go medium or hot at Thai or Indian places, but more often than not I don’t end up enjoying it very much.
I had already ordered my meal at a medium spice level as well, so I was apprehensive to see what would come out of the kitchen. But surprisingly, my plate of pineapple red curry with chicken was remarkably sweet with only a hint of spice. I probably could have gone for much more amped-up flavors. I liked the seasoning overall, and the pieces of chicken and bell pepper were tender and well-cooked. But I think there was perhaps too much sauce, and it was too heavy and creamy from the coconut milk. Pretty savory and delicious at first, but then a bit much once you got halfway through the dish.
An order of spicy fried rice with shrimp – at a maximum spice level – did actually have a strong heat presence that built up as you kept eating. For me it was way too much, but my dining companion thought it was the perfect amount of spice. That single cucumber garnish though? Weird/unnecessary.
Part of me debated even reviewing Celadon Thai on the blog because I left feeling kind of un-enthused. Our meal was just ok. Both appetizers were pretty lackluster, and the spice levels through the meal were inconsistent. Our entrees were fine, but probably nothing that I’m rushing back for. I’ve definitely had better Thai at other places in the region (like TapAsia on Lark Street in Albany).
But perhaps I’m just bad at ordering Thai food, and I should have known better than to order a soup that would be so spicy and an entree that would be so thick and sweet. Others seem to have had great experiences here, and it could all come down to expert menu selection. Or perhaps this place is just mediocre, and that intel is still worth sharing. Not every review can be an out of the park home run, after all.