Swasdee Thai Cuisine, 14720 Pipeline Ave., Suite B, Chino Hills
One reason I kept going to events concerning development of The Shoppes (ground breaking, media tour, second media tour) is that each one was in the late morning, perfect timing to eat lunch afterward in Chino Hills. (The developers provided food each time but I skipped it.) Not that Chino Hills is a culinary mecca — the city is just so far from our Ontario office that it’s a rare treat to be there.
And the city does have some good places to eat. Residents there are always complaining about the lack of sitdown restaurants, but their city has more than they think. It’s just that most are ethnic eateries, non-chains, and maybe for that reason they’re not quite what the average person is looking for.
All I know is, my list of places to investigate in Chino Hills is a half-dozen long, and that’s pre-Shoppes. On Thursday I went looking for one of two sushi bars I’ve read about and couldn’t find it — drat those giant shopping centers and five-digit addresses — but while exiting Chino Hills Marketplace on the Pipeline side, I looked across Pipeline and saw a sign for Swasdee Thai. Well, any port in a storm. I drove directly across the street and into the business park.
Swasdee (the word is said to be a greeting in the Thai language) is a brand-new restaurant in a brand-new building, open “one month and one week,” the server told me. The interior has a sleek, mod design with comfortable booths and a small bar. The lighting is dim, the glasses are fluted. Definitely a swankier environment than Mix Bowl.
The menu is upscale too, as are the prices. Appetizers are $6.95 to $15.95; entrees range from $7.95 to $13.95. I had Drunken Noodle ($8.95) and a Thai iced tea ($2.25). Important note: With some of the noodle dishes, the price is without meat; adding chicken, pork, beef or shrimp is $2 more, and seafood is $3 more. So my noodles with chicken actually cost $10.95.
A little pricy. Still, I have to say, my food was a cut above. Drunken Noodle was a bowl of broad, flat noodles with generous cuts of carrots, onions, tomatoes and chunks of chicken, all mildly spicy. The serving was large enough to take home half.
Across from the entrance just feet from the door was a second building with Roscoe’s Famous Deli, and based on the names on the door it’s owned and operated by the people formerly behind Heroes in Claremont.
So there’s yet another Chino Hills restaurant to try, not to mention two sushi bars, two more authentic Chinese eateries and who knows what else. As we left The Shoppes Thursday morning, the city’s spokeswoman suggested a tour sometime of the under-construction City Hall and I’m certainly amenable to that.
As long as we schedule it for around 10:30 a.m.