Little Charm Thai Kitchen
210 Main Street, Fort Lee NJ
Little Charm, located on Main Street in Fort Lee, is a tiny storefront serving inexpensive Thai food.
I love cute little restaurants, particularly inexpensive ones. Recently, a tiny little Thai place, Little Charm, opened up shop next door to another one of my favorite Asian restaurants, Mo’Pho in Fort Lee. I must say up front that I am a long time friend of the owner of Mo’Pho and I am predisposed and biased towards eating her cuisine, so when I saw the competition next door, I thought I had best check it out.
Little Charm really isn’t competing with Mo’Pho in the sense that its price point is lower and is not trying to match their next door neighbor on a qualitative or creative level and is serving a different type of Asian cuisine, but from the perspective that they are next door and are serving similar types of dishes, I wanted to see what it was all about.
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The menu, like the restaurant itself, is minimalistic and focuses on value priced simple Thai dishes (click on the photo to enlarge)
We tried an array of appetizers including Crepe Dumplings stuffed with peanuts (we think this needed a sauce of some kind to accompany it), vegetarian spring rolls (we liked these), Tom Kha Gai and Tom Yum soups (these appear to use commercial soup bases, but weren’t bad) and Curry Puffs which had a curry potato mixture in them that we really liked.
Main dishes that we tried included Beef Salad which used a tougher, inexpensive cut of beef that we felt really needed a lot more acid in the dressing or more marination in the beef to bring out the flavor.
The Mussamun curry we tried appeared to have used a commercial curry base such as a Maesri or a Mae Ploy (I have no problem with these for home use, but I really think a Thai restaurant can do better and not at huge expense).
The Pad Thai was decent although I have to say the one next door at Mo’Pho is better. We loved the presentation on the rice in pyramidal form.
Overall I would say that if you are in Fort Lee, and are in the mood for boilerplate Thai stuff, and don’t want to spend a ton of money, Little Charm may fit the bill. However it’s far from being the best non-Korean Asian restaurant on the block — that distinction would have to go to Mo’Pho for probably what is the best Vietnamese in Bergen County and also to Silver Pond for excellent Dim Sum and Cantonese seafood items.
If you’re really jonesing for Thai in the general Fort Lee area, you probably want to take a short drive over to Hackensack and check out Wondee’s.
Actually, for good Thai food in the Fort Lee area, try Tom Yum Koong in Cliffside Park or Bangkok Garden in Hackensack. Bangkok Garden is much better than Wondee’s, in my view.
Bangkok Garden is a solid restaurant but for my money I prefer Wondees. You never see Thai people eating at Bangkok Garden, but you do at Wondees.
“Best non-Korean Asian restaurant on the block” is a very strange term, since Asian food is diverse. Using the apples and oranges argument, I don’t see a competition between Thai and Vietnamese food.
I go to Little Charm when I’m in the mood for Thai, not a general “non-Korean Asian” food. If I’m in the mood for Vietnamese, I go to Pho 32 or Mo’ Pho
It’s not that weird if you consider that Fort Lee is heavily focused on Korean food and if I said “Best Asian Restaurant” on the block I would be of course remiss in discussing Silver Pond, Mo Pho and all the other Korean restaurants worth discussing there.