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Taste of Thailand
: Chaba Thai in Linwood

Chaba Thai is the newest resident of Linwood’s Central Square, under the direction of husband and wife 
Ben and Sandy Phraudomporn.

By Frank Gabriel
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Jan. 23, 2013

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The Black Tobiko or “Black Dragon”

Linwood’s Central Square has been one of the region’s premier upscale shopping centers since opening in the mid 1970s.


 

The collection of attached shops is described on its official Web site as “a picture post card village of shopping and business services” providing a “quaint charm.”


What the Square hasn’t had — except for the consistently excellent Cheese Board — for some time has been exciting dining options. That all changed over the last few months as pair of new tenants, Roman Grill and Chaba Thai, have taken up residence.


Roman Grill is the more formal offshoot of a well-regarded successful casual eatery, New Road’s nearby Rose’s Garden Grill. Chaba — meaning “hibiscus flower” in Thai, symbol of prosperity and good luck — is the nascent creation of husband and wife team Jimtachao (“Ben”) and Sandy Phraudomporn.


The Phraudomporns, both native to Bangkok, met while working together in Washington D.C.-area restaurants. But their story goes much deeper than that. Chef Ben, a baby-faced 36-year-old, was previously a Buddhist monk for nearly 20 years. He arrived in America to help his order open a new religious facility in Houston, Texas. Eventually tiring of the simple, monastic life, he left to pursue a culinary career.


“I had a dream to become a sushi chef,” he says. 


Already well-versed in Thai cuisine from his familial background, Ben started at the bottom in Japanese kitchens, spending his first year doing little more than learning how to properly make rice. Working consecutively in Saratoga Springs, New York, Cleveland, Fort Lauderdale and eventually D.C., he toiled at and honed his craft over the last six years.


The resulting cuisine is both authentically Thai and a sort of rare hybrid, given the inclusion of spectacular sushi as well. The duo found out about their current location courtesy of Sandy’s sister Pom Devers, the owner/operator of a self-named salon in Central Square since the mid ’90s.


She encouraged them to consider relocating because “it’s a beautiful location — Linwood is really, really gorgeous.”


“I liked Central Square because we want to be family-oriented here,” adds Sandy. Also helping launch the venture has been Ben’s brother Chatchai Suwannasin, a recently retired Navy veteran.


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COMMENTS

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1. Raira Sutthi said... on Jan 26, 2013 at 12:02AM

“Very nice restaurant , clean, love their floor (bamboo), food I love drunken noodle and chaba special roll with mango on top, OMG! So good.”

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2. James D. said... on Jan 29, 2013 at 09:36PM

“Excellent meal. Everyone with loved Thai and we were impressed. Sushi is amazing too.”

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3. Mare F said... on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:09AM

“I am maybe the only person who did not have a goods meal at this restaurant.Service was good. The Thai food was good, especially the soup.the sushi was a nightmare. The white tuna my best friend ordered had such a strong stench of ammonia that I can't believe it was served. The smoked salmon and the smoked salmon in my Phila. Roll was OLD. Neither tasted good.our sushi orders were inedible.
I called the lovely waitress over and told her of our problem and she was sweet and sympathetic. HOWEVER THE UNEATEN SUSHI WAS NOT REMOVED FROM THE BILL. NO ONE ASKED IF WE WANTED ANYTHING IN PLACE OF THAT HORRENDOUS MESS AND NO TYPE OF ITEM OR DESSERT OR SOFT DRINK WAS OFFERED FOR OUR DISTRESS.
OUR THAI FOOD WAS GOOD.
I will not go back. The bill was $71.00. I will also tell my friends not to go there.I CANNOT BELIEVE NOT ONE PERSON CAME TO SEE US ABOUT OUR COMPLAINTS OR THE 3 orders of sushi that were sent back without being eaten but for touching it with a fork.
It was careless and not good.”

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