The Fillmore East

There is life after Woodstock!

The Fillmore East has been in Chiang Mai for almost two years, which in the restaurant business, can be considered a long time. The Fillmore East states that it has the best steak in Chiang Mai, so the Dining Out Team decided we should investigate.

Ron, the owner, who describes himself as “chief cook and bottle washer” is a mildly spoken American from San Francisco, a city known for its involvement in the music movement for more than half a century. It is also known for a unique restaurant, The Fillmore West, that promoted rock concerts. For someone like Ron who frequented The Fillmore West, it seemed appropriate to recreate something like that here in Chiang Mai.

The Fillmore East is not a large venue, and you will have to look carefully as you come down Loi Kroh Road. It is on the left, around 100 meters from Kotchasarn Road, and exactly 25 meters from the brightly lit Kodak shop on the other side of the road. The decor is musicana, with some original posters and lithographs of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendricks and Bob Marley to name but a few. The furniture is simple, and the atmosphere is clean. At the front there is a covered and well extracted BBQ area, while at the back is a sit-up bar.

The menu begins with drinks, local beers 55-70 baht, house wine B. 90 per glass, or a pitcher of frozen Margarita B. 450, as well as the usual softs and juices. These are followed by a wine list, not extensive (or expensive - maximum B. 1150), but well chosen.

Food begins with appetizers and salads, Caesar at B. 115, tomato-mozzarella B. 85, and then some toasted baguettes with interesting toppings around B. 85-105. Burgers are up next (on bun or baguette - nice touch) with R&R names like the ‘Stevie Ray’ or the ‘Eagles’ ranging in price between B. 95 through to 195 for the ‘Tina’ complete with double everything.

Steaks, chops and grills are next, from B. 155 for a Salisbury steak or sirloin baguette, through a flank steak at B. 295 up to different weights of filet starting with 5 ounces at B. 395 through to a monstrous 12 oz. at B. 775. Finally there is a selection of music DVD’s to choose as your entertainment, including the Corrs, the Doors, the Stones or the Eagles in the list of 80 titles.

As this was a tasting evening, Ron had arranged samples of many items for us. We began with a sharp and spicy Caesar salad, made according to the original recipe, said Ron. This did not come from Julius, but from a restaurant in Tijuana, whose owner was Caesar! This was followed by slices of tomato with mozzarella and basil leaf, doused in balsamic vinegar, which were superb. Do try it!

Chicken kebabs were next, large and wrapped in bacon and very tasty. Then we began the steaks, with a filet that simply melted in the mouth. This was the top quality USDA Choice Angus. Brilliant piece of bull! We then tried Ron’s Flank Steak, a most interesting marinated and grilled steak served with rocket lettuce and grilled leeks, chopped tomatoes and drizzled with balsamico. This was beef with a sensational flavour, and I loved it!

During the dinner, we watched and listened to our own DVD concert selections, and Madame even managed to find room for tiramisu and raspberries!

So does The Fillmore East have the best steaks in Chiang Mai? It is always dangerous to deal in superlatives, but Miss Terry and the Team would go as far as saying that the steaks were as good as we have ever eaten. There was no doubting the top quality of the American beef, and there was no doubting of the skill of the young Thai chef in cooking and presenting the food. We did enjoy it, and the addition of “our own” Rolling Stones and Huey Lewis concerts made the evening an ‘event’, not just a meal. Highly recommended.

The Fillmore East, Loi Kroh Road (100meters from Kotchasarn Road), Chiang Mai, telephone 01 992 6810, open from noon till 2 a.m.