open seasonally (May - October)
closed when Cedar Point is closed for the winter.
I have been spending about 1/10 of my time up in Northern Ohio because I work up in Sandusky, OH periodically, and I have some very sick relatives in Cleveland, OH. Just because I have to work, or attend to relative, doesn't mean eating decent food goes out the window. I have become a regular at Zinc Brasserie because it is one of the best restaurants in Sandusky, and I am going to become a regular at Siam Orchid because it is one of the best Thai places in Sandusky.
I heard about Siam Orchid from a waiter at Zinc Brasserie. I was sitting there asking if there were any good Asian food in Sandusky. Because Sandusky is a summer vacation destination, there are the trapping of bad chain restaurants and a few mediocre Chinese buffets. The chains and buffets seem to appeal to vacationing families because it is economical to feed a family when kids eat at a discount and sometimes free. Since I am not vacationing while in Northern Ohio, I am not interested in the chains or buffets. The waiter suggested I try Siam Orchid and raved about the crispy duck with curry sauce, he said it was his favorite. His relatives own a Chinese sit-down restaurant in the old part of Sandusky (not on the Rt 250 strip) and he did not necessarily recommend that place to me because it is an Americanized Chinese restaurant. He said there is no good Chinese food in Sandusky, and I would have to go to Cleveland for that. He rattled off a couple places to go in Cleveland, how to get there from I-90, and one Thai place in Sandusky.
He suggested I try Siam Orchid restaurant in Sandusky, and try try the crispy duck with curry sauce. He told me that this Siam Orchid is owned by people who came from Thailand, and relocated to Strongville, a suburb of Cleveland. In Strongville they have a Thai restaurant called Sweet Mango, and they work throughout the year. The family likes to be in the Sandusky area for the summer, so they wanted to open a restaurant in Sandusky during the summer. They opened Siam Orchid. They found this seeming strange restaurant location in the South Shore Inn, a seasonal motel near Cedar Point. The Thai family also wanted to capture some of the Cedar Point vacationing money, so they are open from 4 pm - 11 pm for dinner in hopes to feed hungry vacationers as they go to their motel rooms after a full day at the amusement park.
This restaurant being open so late is great for me. There are days that I work late, and just can't make it out for dinner until 9 pm. There are late night dining options with fresh veggies in Sandusky. There are bars and bar food, there are drive-throughs, and that is about it. It is a slice of heaven to have Saim Orchid available for dinner after 9 pm.
So, I have been to Siam Orchid twice, and there seems to be a lot of only locals eating here, and not really the vacationing crowd. I got chicken satay (chicken on a stick) served with two dipping sauces: sweet and sour and peanut. There were four skewers to the plate, and we all really enjoyed the chicken with the sauces. I got crispy duck with red curry over fresh veggies (as recommended) and that was another big hit at the table. The dish is 1/2 duck that was deboned over a bed of fresh sauteed veggies and curry of choice. I personally like red curry, so that is what I got, and it is not very spicy hot, so I can taste the flavors of the curry spices, not just face burning heat. The duck here was slightly over cooked, but I forgive that because it was better than anything I can make, and better than what I can get here in Nashville. The duck was made to have crispy skin with a thin layer of duck fat. The one thing that Thai and Chinese food have in common is understanding the quality of texture and the taste of fat in food, as well as sweet, salt, bitter, sour and umami. The right amount of duck fat is revered in Chinese cooking, and this Thai duck curry dish I had seemed to capitalize on the right amount of duck fat too. Like in Chinese Peking duck, or Cantonese roasted duck, this duck had a nice crispy textured skin which I like. I have attempted to make crispy Cantonese roasted duck a few times, fanning, hanging, pin sticking, and roasting duck, and I have only once made it correctly with buttery meat, a nice thin layer of fat remaining, and crispy orangy brown skin. I stopped attempting after thant because I wanted to end on a high note. Also, it is a multi-day process to do it right, and I just think that it is better just to buy it out and save myself some time.
Anyway, back to dinner, another got pad thai, and the other got a seafood basil stir fry. All dishes came with a side of rice. We were all happy with this meal. The Thai iced tea was strong and refreshing. I only took a sip of it because I just can't have too much caffiene at night (it keeps me up), but my pal who drinks caffiene all night and day enjoyed his tasty iced tea. There is a small list of beer and wine, nothing to right home about, but it isn't necessarily common to have alcoholic beverages at East Asian restaurants. On a late summer evening, a light beer was refreshing, and helped cool some of the fiery spice of Thai hot food.
Go give Siam Orchid a chance. It is the best Thai food you will get in Sandusky. Yes, there is at least one other "Thai" place in Sandusky, and it is not that good. Siam Orchid is a comfortable restaurant, the owners are nice, and they have crispy duck. What more would I want?