From Chiang Mai special noodle soup to spice-packed curries, Thai food is anything but simple. It's a complicated choreography of ingredients like fish sauce, dried shrimp paste, and lemongrass combined with seemingly incongruous spices such as coriander, basil, garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon. But the heart of this cuisine is about balance, a chef mastering the full spectrum of flavors and creating a single, harmonious finish.
At Tamarind Asian Grill and Sushi Bar, a long-established Thai eatery in Deerfield Beach, that balance has been achieved by owner Khruawan Russmetes. From Thailand, she first came to the U.S. in the 1970s by way of New York, opening her first restaurant soon after. Missing her native country's warmer climes, Russmetes relocated to South Florida in 1982, selling her New England establishment and opening a second, Hialeah's Thai House. It was the first of a string of Thai eateries -- one closing here, another opening there -- as far south as Miami Beach. Several, including Thai House II in North Miami Beach and Thai House South Beach, are still in operation, albeit under new ownerships.
One thing they all had in common, however, is sushi.