SEA combines high-end Thai and Vietnamese cuisines to produce a dining experience that was totally unexpected, especially in the very run-down Bally's casino.
The decor is lush and tranquil - lots of candle lighting, and an inner reflecting pool with a statue at one end and wooden dining benches lining its edges. In a typical Thai or Polynesian restaurant, the dining benches would have been sunken, but these were table-height, probably to make access easier. Tables and intimate booths surrounded the water feature, and painted silk screens and wooden scrollwork doors divided various sections of the restaurant, making it exotic and intimate.
As with any Thai or Vietnamese cuisine, you can choose your level of heat. I chose "medium," which they considered "#2," so I decided to up it to "#3" (the usual range, from 1 - no heat - to 5 - very spicy - was offered) and the Tom Yum soup had a huge kick to it so I had to go slowly. It was still excellent.
The chef's choice of appetizers was wonderful - and the peanut dipping sauce for the satay was something I'd love to have again (and I usually find peanut sauces underwealming - but not this one, I could have eaten it by the spoonful).
A beef with garlic and mixed vegetables was mild and intriguing, with a subtle garlic flavor and an authentic mix of vegetables, from sliced lotus to baby corn, and fragrant jasmine rice. a "crazy pad thai" with duck and mango was wonderful, unique, spicy, and presented as a pyramid of layers on a square plate. The dish was as visually exciting as it was flavorful and fun.
The staff was attentive; each table seemed to have a main waiter or waitress but every wait person was attentive, making sure water glasses were filled, empty plates were removed, etc. The portions were generous and offered lots of authentic and fresh ingredients. I would eat at this restaurant again in a minute. And finally, the cost was very reasonable.
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