Seafood Market and Restaurant, Bangkok
I'm rather embarrassed to have come to this total tourist trap tonight (89 Sukhumvit Soi 24, 0-2661-1252-9), but in my defense, we were originally hunting down a supposedly pretty darned good Issan place in the vicinity, only to find out that it was closed tonight for some reason. So with a bit of reluctance, we fell back on this place, which I'd been to a few years ago and knew it was totally tacky, but it was nearby, and I had an early day of work ahead of me tomorrow. Our objective was thus really just to eat and then get outta there.
And without any doubt, the place was screaming plastic and neon right when we went in (with tons of camera-touting tourists abound), although admittedly it is a bit of an amusing concept if you hadn't been there before. Basically this huge place is half fish market, half restaurant. Pick out your fresh fish, pay for them, push the cart to your table, and then a separate team asks you how you want it cooked (with a separate charge).
Now, despite all this bashing on this place, I have to admit that I actually did kinda like my food tonight, be it some stir-fried scallops and veggies, deep fried fish (which was surprisingly light and crispy), or the thing that I do fondly remember from my last trip here: clams sauteed in rich butter.
Was this tourist trap overpriced? Of course: a small meal for about 1-2 people ran 525 Baht for the fish and 310 Baht for the cooking charges for a total of 835 Baht, or US$20.85 (and that price can vary widely depending on what fish you pick...we grabbed the cheap sole). Street food would have been ridiculously cheaper. But oh well. At least this place was light years beyond that sad sister restaurant in Singapore, even if it felt a bit like Disneyland.