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La Miette La Mai Thai Bistro

Bernard Whitmore

278 Main Street, Northborough

508) 393-7714

Lamiettelamai.com

Their name alone was enough to pique my interest. French name + Thai bistro; it’s an equation that holds promise of fusion cuisine and an unusual dining experience. And when we walked into LMLM and the first thing I spotted was their sushi bar. Totally unexpected, it added another layer of expectations.

From the street, LMLM looks like a large place; once I was in it, though, I could see that it really is a bistro with just a handful of tables. Their limited dining space was augmented by a bolted-on sunroom with dining tables and velvety lounge furniture for when they bring in musical entertainment. Seated next to the glass wall, I made note that thicker sweaters would be necessary as we slide into the colder months of winter.

A quick scan of the menu was enough to dispel thoughts of quaint little bistro with culinary restraint. Large formatted and stiffly laminated, LMLM’s menu contained rows and rows of sections with multiple options that boggled this first-time customer. Should I get noodles? Or noodles with rice? Or one of the seven curry dishes that come with ten different protein options? 

I checked the Chef’s Specials without definitively finding French-Thai fusion dishes. Filet Mignon Massamen Curry or the Wild Boar Basil sounded interesting and, perhaps, fusion possibilities. But then I remembered the sushi bar and turned my attention to its menu. I looked everywhere for omakase because I like to let the sushi chef determine what’s best. But where was it? Oh yeah, back in the appetizer list, sashimi appetizer with seafood salad. Excellent!

With decisions made, we turned our attention to our appetizer, Thai Dumplings. They looked very similar to Chinese potstickers; tender dough crimped together around a filling of ground pork and vegetables so finely minced they’d vanished into the mildly seasoned meat. Ours were fried to an even deep-golden brown and served with a dipping sauce too sweet for my liking.

After a short interlude, entrées arrived, and I was presented with LMLM’s Sashimi Appetizer. As with each of our selections, the presentation was elegantly simple. Seven slices of three different fish were served over a bed of curly mixed greens on a long rectangular white dish. At one end, a salad of springy green seaweed, the other end held sliced ginger and a dab of wasabi molded into the shape of a leaf.

I started with warm slices of unagi, incredibly tender, lightly glazed and so mild in flavor I refused to dip them in soy sauce or wasabi. They were perfect as-is. Next in line were three slices of salmon, striated and glistening pinkish orange. And finally, the deep red tuna. This was a large appetizer; the salmon and tuna slices were perfectly trimmed and pristine-fresh. Moreover, they were triple the size of most sashimi portions, a happy challenge for my chopstick skills.

A glass of Alta Via Pinot Grigio provided tart-dry flavor counterpoint to the rich sashimi experience with its smooth dry finish. Add LMLM to my list of sushi recommendations!

Drunken Noodle, my friend’s entrée, provided a sampling of LMLM’s Thai cuisine. Broad flat rice noodles were mixed with large chunks of onion and sweet peppers – red and green – and coated with a spicy brown sauce. He ordered it with the menu’s ‘Whole Duck’ option. Whole duck? Really? We doubted it. The waitstaff were in disarray as to whether we should take the term literally.

On arrival, it took the form we expected. Slices and bits of duck breast meat blended perfectly with the noodles. It was a study in contrasting textures: firm duck meat, springy-soft noodles and slightly crunchy vegetables. All in a somewhat spicy sauce.

And here I will take note of LMLM’s 3-pepper scale of spiciness. Drunken Noodles max’d out the scale with three peppers. As executed, though, I’m not sure the sauce warranted any warning. Yes, there was a pleasing spicy edge to the flavor. But no, there wasn’t the slightest danger of inferno.

And now, back to their name. Entering La Miette La Mai into Google’s translator yielded something about ‘crumb’. LMLM’s homepage explains that their name conveys meaning in regard to their attention to the smallest of details. For most of us though, finding its meaning can be a challenge. No worries, when you’re ready for a good Thai or sushi meal, just google “Thai in Northboro”.

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