Monday, August 4, 2014

Is Sapphire Thai Food Express any reason to eat in Teaneck?

Meing Kham at Sapphire Thai Food Express in Teaneck are Chinese broccoli leaf roll-ups with fresh ginger, dried shrimp, fresh chili, roasted peanuts, lime and browned coconut with a sweet sauce on the side.

There is very little dried shrimp on each leaf.


Wondee's in Hackensack has spoiled me for other Thai restaurants.

I haven't tried Thai Palace on Degraw Avenue in Teaneck, despite a recommendation from friends and a three-star newspaper review last year.

Now, a woman who cooked at that restaurant helped open a new place, Sapphire Thai Food Express, in a storefront on Teaneck's Cedar Lane.

Sapphire also got a favorable newspaper review recently -- 21/2 stars -- but the two dishes I ordered on Sunday evening were just good, not great.

There was so little shrimp in Meing Kham, one of the restaurant's specialties, that I could not taste it, especially if I added the optional sauce.

The broccoli leaf roll-ups have a crunchy filling and a too-sweet sauce of brown sugar, coconut and galangal, a member of the ginger family ($10).

Hand-held food

I ordered the dish because I can't resist the appeal of food you eat with your hands, such as tacos and anything stuffed into Middle Eastern pocket bread.

I liked the Papaya Salad, which I asked for medium spicy, but the strands of green papaya could have been cut thicker, as they are at Wondee's ($7).

The papaya, peanuts, string beans, tomato, chili and tart lime-juice dressing are served over crunchy chopped romaine lettuce, but I prefer Wondee's whole leaves, which allow you to wrap up the salad and eat it.

The shredded green papaya in Sapphire's Papaya Salad was thinner than the crunchy strands in the salad served at Wondee's Fine Thai Food & Noodles on Main Street in Hackensack.
Sapphire Thai Food Express seats fewer than 30, and on Sunday evening, the dining room was too cold when the air conditioner cycled on.

Sapphire Thai Food Express, 445 Cedar Lane, Teaneck; 201-928-0770. Open 7 days. Call for hours. BYO. Free parking in municipal lot around the corner.

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