TINLEY PARK, Ill. — For 25 years, south suburbanites have been able to dine at Siam Marina, though they’ve had to point their cars in different directions from time to time. The original was a storefront in Calumet City, the second was in River Oaks Center and for the last four years, Siam Marina has occupied a stand-alone building in Tinley Park.
As the sign suggests, there’s a little something for everybody here, including occasional live music and about 5 dozen creative martini inspirations. In a sophisticated, elegant space with colorful lights, flower-topped tables and linen napkins, chef and co-owner Tammy Pham oversees a massive menu that offers Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, with a little French fusion thrown in for good measure.
The Siam beef lover is a good example of Pham’s multicultural leanings; the dish features marinated tenderloin and stir-fried vegetables in a complex sauce bolstered by chilies and brandy. Fish Cakes Delight, which is actually what it’s called, are panko-crusted cakes of three minced fish with a tart mustard sauce – essentially, crab cakes with a different protein.
The To Die For pork shank, which again, is what it’s called, offers plenty of fall-off-the-bone meat and julienned vegetables in a coconut-rich broth, kind of an osso buco meets Thai curry. And seared scallops, in a saffron beurre blanc sauce, are served, improbably, with tempura-fried asparagus and onion rings. They’re good onion rings, even if I don’t completely understand why they’re served with scallops.
More traditional dishes, and there are tons of those, include skewered prawns with pineapple chunks and a sweet-and-sour sauce; and spicy lemongrass beef, which can be even spicier if you use those dots of sriracha sauce on the plate.
Desserts are tailored to western tastes. Green tea cheesecake is a very good cheesecake with subtle notes of green tea, and the double-chocolate cake is a gut-buster, a two-layer, dark-chocolate cake drenched in Godiva white-chocolate sauce. Bring a friend.
I give Siam Marina, 16846 Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park, one star. Not everything sings on the menu, but most of the food is solid, the ambiance is worthy of a date night, and 25 years of customer support tells you a lot.