Fort Lee’s Main St. now emits a new aroma--an aroma that gets one to savor the taste of basil leaves and curries containing coconut milk. And if you walk down to the very backbone of Fort Lee, you are sure to find a memorable Thai meal from a petite restaurant known as Little Charm.
Bee Dellith, one of two owners of the relatively new restaurant, introduced not only the core of Thai cuisine to Fort Lee, but also a new modern style of dining. Dellith, along with fellow owner Dao Phattarapanon and their staff, put together novel ways to consume basil leaves and bamboo shoots, modernized in a square, white dish but kept original.
"Right now, Thai food is popular and growing in all places,” Dellith said. “It’s also healthy, and there’s no other Thai restaurants in Fort Lee.”
Dishes in the dainty restaurant include a variety of spicy curries vastly different from Indian curries in both taste and smell.
“In Thai curries, there is a sweetness compared with the Indian curries, a less heavier smell, bamboo shoots, and we also put in coconut milk,” Dellith said.
A customer favorite is the Pad Thai, a traditional Thai dish consisting of rice noodles skewered with scallions, peanut bits and sauce, and a choice of meats like beef, pork, squid or shrimp.
It catches a passerby’s eye that a restaurant the size of a rich person’s closet can exude such spiritual character and emit such a variety of smells, serving all of Fort Lee, but other Bergen County towns as well.
But Dellith did not choose the location because of a lack of other choices or the appeal of Fort Lee. She simply felt the location suited the style of Little Charm.
“We decided to choose a small spot for our new beginning,” she said. “If we tried something small, we would keep the quality and progress from that.”
And because the restaurant can accomodate 16 people at most with its bar and three tables, Little Charm delved into the business of pickup and delivery. Dellith said takeout account for 60 percent of the restaurant’s profits.
Edgewater residents however no longer have to call for deliveries if they don't want to. They can dine in at Dellith’s second and most recently opened restaurant, Pa De, off Old River Rd.
“We used to charge $3 for deliveries to Edgewater residents because of the long distance,” she said. "But now, if an Edgewater resident calls, we tell them about Pa De.”
Pa De is not only more convenient for some, but also features more tables, more light and a patio for summer dining. There are also menu differences between the two restaurants. Pa De, for example, serves red snapper in ginger sauce instead of a tilapia.
Little Charm, located in the heart of Fort Lee, attracts more customers during weekdays at for lunch than on weekends. But Pa De appeals less during the week--most likely due to the outflow of Edgewater residents working in Manhattan--than it does on weekends.
Regardless of the differences, Dellith has introduced a novel yet fashionable cuisine for Bergen County palates and helped spread a modern style of dining near the city--a style that surrounds customers with a cultural atmosphere in which to repose and reflect.
“We don’t want customers to think they’re in a rush,” Dellith said. “We want to surround them with the comfort and lifestyle while eating our dishes.”