The Fillmore East

Location, location, location (and food)!

They say that the three prime requisites in real estate are location, location, location. If that holds true for restaurants, then the newly relocated The Fillmore East must be assured of success. After being cramped in the boonies of Loi Kroh Road, the new location is large, extends over several floors and is beside the Ping River.

Next to Riverside and The Gallery it is actually down a small ‘arcade’, but is well signposted, with a blue neon sign proclaiming ‘The Fillmore East’. Walk through and down a few steps and you are on the banks of the Ping, looking across at the flower market. At night there are hanging lanterns in the trees, and the ambience is relaxed Lanna. There are also another two floors if you want to rise to greater heights!

The menu begins with Soups and Salads (B. 90-185), covering the usual Caesar, plus some interesting combinations such as a Fillmore Slaw mixing oriental salad items with green onions and peanut butter. Next up is the Sandwich section, with a 350 gram steak sandwich at the top, for which you will pay B. 465. This must be the largest steak sandwich in the world! The more usual sandwiches are generally under B. 100!

The American owner, Ron, a music buff from way back (from whence comes the “Fillmore” name - ask Ron) shows this and a droll sense of humor with his page of ‘musical’ hamburgers. There is the ‘Ike’ burger, the only one to beat the ‘Tina’ burger (Ikettes not included), or the Bruce burger which is red, white and blue and was “Born in the USA”.

The next section covers the grills, with the USDA Angus cuts ranging from B. 595 to B. 1295, depending upon cut and weight, with top whack being 350 gram. BBQ pork ribs run out at B. 245 for a half slab, or B. 365 for the full.

There are also BBQ skewers, chops and fajitas (B. 195-650), side orders, entrees, seafood, vegetarian numbers and desserts (if you can ever get that far).

We tried a selection of dishes from all through the menu, beginning with the ‘Loaded’ nachos that included spicy sliced chicken and onions as well as the usual cheese and salsa, and a Caesar salad. At Ron’s suggestion we drank the Chilean Sunrise Merlot, a perfectly quaffable and very pleasant drop.

A large plate of satay prawns was presented next, with the prawns being plump and juicy. Ron was into his stride by now and in quick succession we had a full slab of BBQ pork ribs with a mountain of french-fries, and an Argentinean Angus strip loin steak with mushrooms and their own special mashed potatoes, with cheese folded in during preparation. This steak was cooked exactly to order, and was so tender you could cut it with a spoon. Superb!

There is no getting away from the fact that Ron, the owner, knows his steaks, and is proud of his meats. The portions are very generous, and you will need a huge appetite to even contemplate his 350 gram (more than 12 ounce) cuts. Fortunately there are smaller portions (170 and 280 grams) for the more usual hungers! There are also many choices of relatively inexpensive dishes.

We were impressed with the new venue and more than happy with the food. And we certainly did not leave hungry. If you decide you must have the USDA Angus, you will pay for the pleasure, but the alternatives of Argentinean Angus or Thai-French beef will be very acceptable for most people, and less expensive.

The fare is varied enough, including vegetarian items for the non-carnivores, and with the new location, The Fillmore East really has a full hand. I believe it will be more popular than it was before, and has elevated itself in my opinion, and will attract a much broader clientele. Do try it. You will not be disappointed.

The Fillmore East, 529 Charoenprathet Road, Wat Gate, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 262 418. Website www.fillmore-east-thailand.com. Open seven days, 5 p.m. till 1 a.m. Secure parking across the street (B. 30 refunded on presentation of ticket).