I ventured out with a few friends in the blustery winter weather recently, so for dinner we decided to warm up with some spicy Thai cuisine at the much anticipated Sushi Siam. We arrived right before the dinner rush and were seated at the back by the sushi bar. The dining room had cozy, intimate feel and seats around 25-30 people. We looked over our menus and made some selections from the different sections. The menu has a Thai section with curries and noodles, a sushi section with sushi rolls, poke bowls, nigiri and sashimi, as well as a small dessert section. In addition to their current menu they do plan on offering a kids menu.

Image: Chicken satay at Siam Sushi. Four skewers of golden brown cooked chicken are on an oval plate with two small condiment bowls, one with a peanut dipping sauce, the other with a cucumber salad. Photo by Rebecca Wells. Image: Chicken satay at Siam Sushi. Four skewers of golden brown cooked chicken are on an oval plate with two small condiment bowls, one with a peanut dipping sauce, the other with a cucumber salad. Photo by Rebecca Wells.
Image: Four peices of shrimp tempura at Sushi Siam. The breaded and fried shrimp are served on a rectangular plate, one corner of which contains a dipping sauce. The plate is a marbled black and white pattern. Photo by Rebecca Wells. Image: Four pieces of shrimp tempura at Sushi Siam. The breaded and fried shrimp are served on a rectangular plate, one corner of which contains a dipping sauce. The plate is a marbled black and white pattern. Photo by Rebecca Wells.

Our appetizers arrived at the table promptly, and they were a sight to behold. The chicken satay ($7.99) served with peanut sauce was moist and juicy and although the peanut sauce was bit oily, the flavor was warming and spicy. The generously sized shrimp tempura ($7.99) were sweet and the batter was light and crispy; the soy dipping sauce was delicious mix of sweet and salty. The deep fried soft shell crabs ($7.99) were flavorful and crunchy, and served along side a beautifully fanned orange peel. The chef was definitely showing off some serious knife skills.

Image: Soft shell crab at Sushi Siam. The fried crab is served on a brown and white asymmetrical plate. On the plate is a small, black bowl with dipping sauce, pickled ginger, and a small dollop of wasabi. An orange peel is fanned out as garnish. Photo by Rebecca Wells. Image: Soft shell crab at Sushi Siam. The fried crab is served on a brown and white asymmetrical plate. On the plate is a small, black bowl with dipping sauce, pickled ginger, and a small dollop of wasabi. An orange peel is fanned out as garnish. Photo by Rebecca Wells.
Image: Tempura roll at Sushi Siam. The roll is served on a long white rectangular plate. The roll is fried, and garnished with white, dark brown, and orange sauces. Light brown wood chopsticks are on the left side of the plate. Photo by Rebecca Wells. Image: Tempura roll at Sushi Siam. The roll is served on a long white rectangular plate. The roll is fried, and garnished with white, dark brown, and orange sauces. Light brown wood chopsticks are on the left side of the plate. Photo by Rebecca Wells.

Next to the table were the beautiful sushi rolls and the sashimi served with a dollop of wasabi and pickled ginger. We dug into the tempura roll first ($13.99) which consisted of deep fried salmon, unagi (freshwater eel), cucumber, avocado, and was topped with a spicy mayo and crunchy tempura flakes. It had a very creamy texture so the addition of the fried salmon and crispy exterior of the roll were wonderful contrasts.

Image: Spider bomb roll at Sushi Siam. Ten pieces of sushi served on a long, white, rectangular plate. The each piece is garnished with a dark brown and an orange sauce. Photo by Rebecca Wells. Image: Spider bomb roll at Sushi Siam. Ten pieces of sushi served on a long, white, rectangular plate. The each piece is garnished with a dark brown and an orange sauce. Photo by Rebecca Wells.

The colorful spider bomb ($12.99) was made with soft-shell crab, asparagus and avocado, topped with avocado and eel sauce. The flavors mixed well, the rice was well cooked, and there was a nice subtle crunch from the soft shell crab.

Image: Smoked salmon sashimi at Sushi Siam. A small round bowl hold pickled ginger, wasabi, thinly sliced carrot, and two pieces of pink salmon. Light colored wood chopsticks rest across the bowl. Photo by Rebecca Wells. Image: Smoked salmon sashimi at Sushi Siam. A small round bowl hold pickled ginger, wasabi, thinly sliced carrot, and two pieces of pink salmon. Light colored wood chopsticks rest across the bowl. Photo by Rebecca Wells.

It was finally time to try the sashimi. The raw smoked salmon ($6.99) was served with wasabi, pickled ginger, and thinly sliced carrot. The fish was a glossy pink and had a lightly smoked flavor with a silky texture. It was enjoyable and I think I may even have it again.

Image: Pad Thai at Sushi Siam. An white oval plate holds brown stir fried noodles into which are pieces of scallions adn chicken. A small garnish of crushed peanuts, a slice of lime, and some bean sprouts are also on the plate. Photo by Rebecca Wells. Image: Pad Thai at Sushi Siam. An white oval plate holds brown stir fried noodles into which are pieces of scallions adn chicken. A small garnish of crushed peanuts, a slice of lime, and some bean sprouts are also on the plate. Photo by Rebecca Wells.

The pad Thai with chicken ($11.99) entree was the last to arrive at the table. There were generous piles of noodles and large pieces of tender chicken in the dish and the seasoning of fish sauce and lime were spot on. Ever since My Thai in Champaign closed, I’ve been looking for a new place to get my pad Thai fix and I think I’ve found it at last.

Once we’d finished our meal I had a chance to have a quick chat with one of the servers. Here are a few things to know about this fun new restaurant: It’s owned and operated by the same woman who brought you Sushi Rock on Green Street in Champaign. While Sushi Siam offers Thai-Japanese fare, Sushi Rock focuses more on Korean-Japanese fusion with a hint of Chinese cuisine. I was also informed that Doordash has posted a false Siam Sushi menu online, so don’t be fooled. They do, however, plan to offer delivery in the near future though UberEats among others; meanwhile they do take pick-up orders. Lastly, the restaurant is waiting on their liquor license to come through, but they do plan on offering a selection of beer and saki.

Image: A collection of three photos of the Sushi Siam menu. Photos by Rebecca Wells.

The service at Sushi Siam was friendly and attentive, and at no point during our meal did we feel rushed or ignored. The food was pleasing to the eyes and satisfying to the palate. Siam Sushi is the perfect place for a date night, dinner with friends, or a quick bite to-go. I look forward to going back in a few months to see how the restaurant has grown and progressed.

Sushi Siam
1729 W Kirby Ave
Champaign
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. + 4:30 to 9 p.m.

Top image: A spiral-bound menu for Sushi Siam sits on a wood table. The menu is black with gold lettering, and decorative design in the upper right and lower left corners. Photo by Rebecca Wells.