Ten-O-Six Thai's It Up

Maryland CrabSoup and Tod Mon Get Fancy

By Cathy Adams

     Ten-O-Six, a popular Federal Hill restaurant which recently changed owners and menus, now features "Thai-American gourmet cuisine." Tom Chunsakoon, formerly the executive chef for the Suburban Club, felt it was "time to do my own restaurant, do what is in my heart," by creating a menu that offers a menu split between Thai and American cuisine, with an emphasis on elaborate presentations on over-sized plates.

     Ten-O-Six, with it's small two-level dining rooms allows Chunsakoon and his wife, Penny, the sous-chef and pastry chef, the opportunity to concentrate on the food, and pay attention to every small details, like the house-made foccacia and coffee beans ground to order. The narrow open kitchen at the front of the restaurant is also an opportunity for the customers and Chunsakoons to get to know each other. Chunkasoon said the advantages of being the chef and owner is that he can offer a moderately priced menu with an emphasis on quality and quantity as well as cater to his guests. American entrees are represented by Planked Stuffed Salmon, oven roasted on a piece of cedar that adds an aromatic smoked flavor; Rockfish with a pecan crust and a crab-orange buerre blanc (a delicate butter sauce); an over-sized grilled veal chop, and rack of lamb with a Zinfindel sauce and vegetable bouquet.

     Crab soup, a traditional tomato-vegetable broth is garnished with lump crab and a "cracker spoon," Blue Point oysters are available in season, either raw or grilled with a butter, lemon and chive sauce. Mussels, steamed with white wine, garlic, basil and lemon grass is one of the few cross cultural dishes.

     The Thai appetizers and entrees are classical Thai food, prepared with traditional Thai techniques, but with exuberant French-style presentations. Pad Thai, probably the most well-known Thai dish of stir fried chicken, shrimp and garnished with peanuts and cilantro and cellophane rice noodles with the ingredients precisely arranged around the plate. Thai pork loin is served with sticky rice molded in a timbale and garnished with green papaya salad. Tod Mon, generally currried fish cakes, is made with minced lobster mixed with a spicy chili paste and served with a cooling cucumber sauce. The desserts are made by Penny and frequently include Creme Brulee (a rich baked custard glazed with caramelized sugar) and Baked Alaska, with chocolate cake, home-made strawberry ice cream, is covered with light meringue and blow-torched to a golden brown. "I love the Baked Alaska," said Chunsakoon.

1006 Light Street
(401) 528-2146
Appetizers and salads $5-$7
Entrees $11-$20
Hours: Monday-Thursday 6-10 pm
Friday-Saturday 6-11 pm
Sunday 5-9:30 pm

Crab meat and Shiitake Spring Rolls with Spicy Orange Syrup to serve 4 as an appetizer

4 Spring Roll Wrappers
10 ounces Jumbo lump crab- picked
2 ounces Shiitake mushrooms- stemmed and sliced
2 ounces bamboo shoots-cut into thin match sticks
2 cups fresh spinach leaves-washed
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
1 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro root or 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro-see note
2 drops Thai fish sauce
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
vegetable or peanut oil for deep frying

2 cups fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped shallot
1 dried chili pepper pod
Coarsely chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in saute pan, add garlic and shallot and cook until lightly browned.
2. Add shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, spinach and cilantro roots and saute until spinach is lightly wilted. Add crab meat and fish sauce and saute for 2 minutes longer . Refrigerate.
3. Divide filling into 4 pieces and gently pat into a cylinder. Place on bottom third of wrapper, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on the sides. Fold the 1/2 inch sides over the filling, brush with egg wash, then from the bottom fold it up, burrito-style, keeping it as compact as possible. Brush top edge with beaten egg and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4. For sauce: Combine orange juice, sugar, garlic, shallot and chili pepper in non-reactive sauce pan. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and reduce until thick and syrupy. Strain sauce, discarding solids.
5. Heat frying oil to 350 F and fry spring rolls on both sides until golden brown.
6. Drizzle the orange sauce on plates. Cut spring rolls on a slight bias and fan out on plates. Decorate with cilantro leaves if desired.

     Note: Chungsakoon uses the roots of cilantro for a more pronounced flavor. Buy cilantro bunches with the roots still attached, wash, and chop.

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