The ugly green building on U.S. 1 may be empty, but some of the Thai food that South Miamians so loved for three decades at the Siam Lotus Room can be found at the pleasant Atchana’s East West Grill in Coconut Grove’s Mutiny Hotel. Bangkok-born owner Atchana Capellini’s ambitions are limited by the tiny kitchen and the fact that she is turning out three meals a day plus room service, but it’s a start. (Actually, it is a super spot for breakfast, too. As the name suggests, she is also turning out American fare like New York strip steak, Caesar salad and cheeseburgers.)
For now, the sweet and surprising Atchana’s is taking it slow, but give it time and perhaps the whole cadre of Thai chefs will be back in the kitchen turning out more (and more authentic) dishes. (She promises mee grob, those irresistible sweet and sour Thai noodles that are rarely found around town.) Atchana is resisting the trend of pairing sushi with her brand of Thai food. “Maybe Indian with Thai I could see, but not Japanese,” says the practical and pleasant hospitality pro. “People always ask. But I am not doing it. At least not for now.”
Ambience: The tight quarters may have shrunk the menu and staff (our young waiter was so friendly we wanted to invite him home), but the lush poolside dining area with a dozen teak tables feels grand.