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Zabver, Thai and Pan-Asian in the Former Adam Express Space in Mount Pleasant - Closed


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Beau Thai had a 1 hour 30 minute wait for delivery, so we decided to try out the new Zabver Thai (which for now is only take-out, and 3 tables to eat at in take out containers) on Mt. Pleasant street (the old Adam Express location).

WOW. First of all the place has had a total makeover - it is still small, and mainly take-out (with three tables) but it looks MUCH better and is WAY cleaner. Also, there is a whole new kitchen in the back. The owners, a husband and wife team, are two of the nicest people I have ever met in a restaurant - seriously. They really are happy to be in the neighborhood, want to get to know their customers, and are just delightful. When I got there they were busy with take out and a couple of tables eating in. The menu is a large assortment of mostly Thai dishes. A lot of things looked good - i ordered the Golden Triangle, curry puffs, veggie spring rolls, and Penang curry with chicken (thai spicy). The owner wanted to make sure I wanted it Thai spicy, and she seemed tickled pink I was ordering it that way. She was happy to show me where she wrote it on the order. I heard a lot of other orders being ordered Thai spicy, so I think the secret is out that you can get real hot food there.

While I waited I chatted with the owner - they are planning on doing take out soon, and are also renovating the upstairs to become a dining room. They wanted to start small and grow into the space, which seems wise. The chef is the original chef from Kanlaya Thai (from back when it was great).

The spring rolls and golden triangles were both better versions than the typical, but not revelatory. The curry puffs were the best I have ever had, and the dipping sauce was exceptional. The penang curry was indeed Thai spicy, and rich. It's the best one I have had in the city.

I am really looking forward to ordering from them again, and I wish them a lot of success.

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Glad to see some discussion of this place - just did a search to see if it was on here, and thought I'd bump it up. Had a similar experience to ventworm's (a year ago!). It's been a couple months for us, but agree about the curry puffs and the lovely owners, etc. They also deliver now.

We like the food better than Beau Thai, although it's not an apples-apples comparison, since it's not a sit and have cocktails and waiter service place.

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The pork chop salad here is one of the tastiest small dishes in the city. Everything I've had has been very tasty, but the pork chop salad hits me right in my wheelhouse.

(And yeah, I like this place WAY better than Beau Thai. Most of Beau Thai's dishes are always weirdly sweet.)

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On 4/21/2017 at 1:59 PM, Rieux said:

Possibly closed?  Phones disconnected - paper on the windows.  But, the website still works and there is a hand written sign on the window saying "opening soon" -- whatever that means.

It probably means it (or something else) is going to open under new ownership, but that's just speculation - a turned-off phone is usually a sign of an ownership change.

Their Facebook page has been very inactive:

Screenshot 2017-04-23 at 10.35.36 AM.png

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If they did close, it's probably due to their inexplicable decision to stop doing delivery several months ago. They said they couldn't make money doing delivery by partnering with Grubhub, so they stopped. With a driver and a typical phone ordering system they could have had better margins. 

The place was SMALL and not really an eat-in place. Depending on pick-up orders is not a good plan, as the number of people within easy pick-up distance is not huge.

I live two (long) blocks away and stopped ordering regularly because usually, for me, ordering means it's raining or I'm tired or lazy (or in PJs) so I don't want to venture out.   I know I shifted a significant  number of orders to Beau Thai (even though I preferred several Zabver items) once they stopped delivering.

They had mentioned wanting to renovate the upstairs to be a dining room. That might have worked out for them if they had pursued it.   It's a shame. The people were lovely. 

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4 minutes ago, Rieux said:

They had mentioned wanting to renovate the upstairs to be a dining room. That might have worked out for them if they had pursued it.   It's a shame. The people were lovely. 

Well, if this is the case, then don't write them off yet.

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11 minutes ago, Ruth Tam said:

Reupping this old thread to ask...does anyone know why Zabver wound up closing?

I'm not sure this is "why" they ended up closing, but when Zabver closed, new owners opened Sabydee fairly quickly, so it's possible that the owners just didn't want to do this anymore - maybe they moved, or didn't want the grind.

What on earth made you ask about this particular restaurant?

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On 7/26/2019 at 12:49 PM, DonRocks said:

I'm not sure this is "why" they ended up closing, but when Zabver closed, new owners opened Sabydee fairly quickly, so it's possible that the owners just didn't want to do this anymore - maybe they moved, or didn't want the grind.

What on earth made you ask about this particular restaurant?

I'm looking for immigrant restaurateurs who can talk about why they feature cuisines other than their own when they open up shop. It's a business strategy that I'm curious about since I'm covering Salva-Mex cuisine in my podcast, Dish City!

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1 hour ago, Ruth Tam said:

I'm looking for immigrant restaurateurs who can talk about why they feature cuisines other than their own when they open up shop. It's a business strategy that I'm curious about since I'm covering Salva-Mex cuisine in my podcast, Dish City!

1 hour ago, Rieux said:

Try talking to Haydee at Haydee’s. 

Have you considered the trend of non-immigrant restaurateurs opening up places which feature "ethnic" cuisines? Here's Mark Kuller posing the issue (I miss Mark being here (has it really been almost five years?), and wish he could defend himself - we got into extended, detailed, lively arguments about places such as Pok Pok being "standard bearers" (which, I've always contended, was the influence for his having opened Doi Moi) but that's yet another band ("White Boys Who Whitewash") whose current lead vocalist is Andrew Zimmern).

Dec 29, 2018 - "Travel Channel Chef Faces Backlash for Comment about Midwest Chinese Restaurants" by Gina Martinez on time.com

Here are some other links of interest:

Desperately Seeking Strip Malls

Going really far back to eGullet:

Cuisine Native to the District

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5 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Have you considered the trend of non-immigrant restaurateurs opening up places which feature "ethnic" cuisines? Here's Mark Kuller posing the issue (I miss Mark being here (has it really been almost five years?), and wish he could defend himself - we got into extended, detailed, lively arguments about places such as Pok Pok being "standard bearers" (which, I've always contended, was the influence for his having opened Doi Moi) but that's yet another band ("White Boys Who Whitewash") whose current lead vocalist is Andrew Zimmern).

Dec 29, 2018 - "Travel Channel Chef Faces Backlash for Comment about Midwest Chinese Restaurants" by Gina Martinez on time.com

Here are some other links of interest:

Desperately Seeking Strip Malls

Going really far back to eGullet:

Cuisine Native to the District

Yes, I've certainly considered the trend, but as far as my reporting for this particular episode on Salva-Mex food, that's not really what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in what drives a recent immigrant restaurateur to cook a more 'established' cuisine for businesses reasons. From what I've seen, it's usually a cuisine that is somewhat regionally closer to their own (Central Americans cooking Mexican. Southeast Asians cooking Chinese, etc.) I'm also curious about when they decide to integrate their native cuisine's dishes on the menu. Perhaps this can be a separate thread since we're getting further away from Zabver's!

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17 minutes ago, Ruth Tam said:

Yes, I've certainly considered the trend, but as far as my reporting for this particular episode on Salva-Mex food, that's not really what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in what drives a recent immigrant restaurateur to cook a more 'established' cuisine for businesses reasons. From what I've seen, it's usually a cuisine that is somewhat regionally closer to their own (Central Americans cooking Mexican. Southeast Asians cooking Chinese, etc.) I'm also curious about when they decide to integrate their native cuisine's dishes on the menu. Perhaps this can be a separate thread since we're getting further away from Zabver's!

The obvious person to talk to would be Thip Khao's Seng Luangrath going from a Thai restaurant to Thai restaurant with secret Lao menu to full on Lao chef/restaurateur. 

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11 minutes ago, Tweaked said:

The obvious person to talk to would be Thip Khao's Seng Luangrath going from a Thai restaurant to Thai restaurant with secret Lao menu to full on Lao chef/restaurateur. 

I was thinking the same. What once was Bangkok Golden, then changed the name of the restaurant to Padaek. Thai dishes are still served, but both Thai as well Lao cuisine are available.  Chef Seng, and her son Bobby, would be a great interview.

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