We went to Emerald Thia in Williamsburg. This is a wonderful restaurant. My wife did a paper for school about it so I am putting her paper here.
The restaurant is in Williamsburg at
264 G Mclaws circle. The hours of operation are Monday thru Thursday 11:30am until 3:00pm
then 5:00pm until 9:00pm Friday and Saturday they stay open until 10:30pm and Sunday from 5:00pm until 9:30pm.The seat capacity was about 60 and the turn over rate was quite slow for a Saturday night.
The Emerald is located very close to Bush Gardens in an alcove with a few other restaurants. It is set in strip mall with quite a few other business around it .The parking lot was quite large and we had no problems getting a space, even though it was a Saturday night.
The menu for Emerald Thai was very nice. They offer several different types of curry, as well as
some more traditional types of Pad Thai (rice noodles). They offer everything from soups and salads to a full main course. I thought the price range was very reasonable. The soups, salads, and appetizers range form $4.00 up to $6.95. The entrees were anywhere from $7.95 up to $15.95. The curry ranges from $8.95 to $15.95. The Pad Thai ranges from $7.95 to $12.95. They also try to offer quite a variety of vegetarian entrees and curry too. The higher end of the scale is if you have seafood in you dish.
My family and I ate there on a Saturday night and were seated right away. The service was fantastic. The interior of the restaurant was a sea foam green .It was very soothing. The dining area has large square tables and the tops are covered in a sparkly print. The chairs are white leather high backs. There is a large fish tank as soon as you walk in and there are three more through out the dining area. We sat right in front of two and were able to watch some very colorful fish dance around the tank. During our meal I was able to speak to the waiter as well as the owner at great length about the restaurant.
Her name is Moony, and she and her whole family came from Thailand many years ago. She worked in quite a few different restaurants in order to save up enough money for them to buy a place of their own. Now they have two establishments. Emerald in Williamsburg and Pattaya in Yorktown. She and I had a long conversation after dinner about her family business. We spoke about how she is trying to keep the food as authentic as possible. We also talked quite in depth about the westernization of traditional recipes. She has tried to keep her establishments true to the roots as much as possible, but she told me that most American can not or will not eat traditional Thai food, due to the spices and some of the other ingredients that are used. .
Her mother and aunt run the kitchen at Emerald and her husband and uncle run the kitchen at Pattaya in Yorktown. I was able to ask her lots of questions, such as how the food is prepared and if she pre ordered anything or if it was all made in the kitchen the same day. Her family friend who was our waiter said the Tud Mun (fish cakes) were ordered but that was about it. She and her mother had been making them by hand everyday but it was becoming to costly. They also order things like the duck and large parts of meat in advance, and just use what they need for the day. They try to get the seafood fresh but sometimes that is hard. Everything was so fresh and the greens were very crisp. She does the orders about every two days for both the restaurants.
We ordered steamed dumplings with shrimp and pork. They are made by hand everyday. We also had Satay which is chicken on a skewer grilled in curry and coconut sauce served with peanut sauce. The peanut sauce is used in a variety of other dishes, so they make that fresh as well. We also tried the Tod Mun (fish cakes), fried curry fish cakes with a hint of sweet tofu. We also had Vegetable Tempura. The tempura was sweet and the batter was not to thick. They used vegetables like pea pods, baby corn as well as sweet potato, and mushrooms. For our entrees we had Pineapple duck, which was so crisp and delicious. I had the Emerald shrimp, which was just spicy enough to make you want to eat more of it. All the dishes came with jasmine rice pressed in to the shape of a flower. My daughter and her friend had fried rice dishes one with crab and the other with beef. They both said that it was good. For all the food and drinks we ordered our bill was less than $100, and the girls had food to take home for the next day.