Teikoku Celebrates a Decade of Delighting Diners

Over two decades ago, Sutida and Win Somboonsong set out to bring the Main Line a taste of their home land of Thailand. Four successful restaurants and thousands of happy customers later, the Win Signature Restaurants group is synonymous with great cuisine and hospitality in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

Their first property, Thai Pepper, opened in 1992, followed by Mikado in 1998. However, Teikoku was the restaurant that put the power couple on the culinary map. The Somboonsongs recently celebrated Teikoku’s tenth anniversary with a festive party.

The Win Signature Group spent nearly a year transforming the old Bobby’s Seafood Restaurant along Route 3 into the sensory oasis it is today. Reminiscent of a Japanese teahouse, diners now unwind in Zen-like ambiance in their intimate tatami room or under  a tranquil wall of rain chains and stone gardens.

The Win Signature Restaurants are built around two essential ingredients: unparalleled customer service matched by the finest ingredients. “From our chef to the dishwasher to the manager, everyone needs to flow together. I learned from day one that you have to treat the customer as you’d like to be treated,” said Sutida.

When a Win Signature Restaurant is opened, the top chefs and servers are brought over from their other restaurants, allowing sous chefs the opportunity to move up. Iron Chef competitor Takao Iinuma spent some time behind the line, creating classic dishes with creative twists based on popular menu items.

Teikoku’s menu is a marriage of exotic flavors from Thailand and classic Japanese dishes with modern techniques. Menu items range from $5 to $24. While diners can order single dishes, many prefer to order family style. Family-style dishes are brought to the table as soon as they are prepared and are meant to be shared among everyone in the party.

A trip to Teikoku is a culinary adventure with a range of dishes for everyone. Thai Curry, Panang Curry, and Drunken Noodles are perfect for spicy explorers, while Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Sate, Grilled Seafood Kabobs, and melt-in-your-mouth Kobe Hot Rock will satisfy diners looking for more traditional dishes.

There is plenty of sushi available in our area, but there is one thing that separates Teikoku from the rest of the school. Their fish is delivered daily from New York. Pair that with expert sushi chefs and you’ll get some of the best sushi you’ve ever had. For novice sushi eaters, Sutida suggests going with a salmon or yellowtail roll; both have a mild taste. Teikoku also offers a twist on traditional sushi. Handcrafted rolls include the Godzilla-Shrimp tempura and BBQ eel topped with avocado, strawberry, honey and crushed macadamia nuts. The Chay Roll delights with tuna, spicy mayo and scallions topped with avocado, crunch and eel sauce. The signature Teikoku Roll tempts with shrimp, crab meat, masago, avocado and crunch wrapped in cucumber.

Teikoku has experience in hosting private parties over the years: everything from holiday parties to a wedding of guests whose love blossomed in their dining room, from birthday parties in their tatami room to sushi bars in someone’s living room. Teikoku’s Manager, Tik Sakuna, shared just one example of their bond with customers. “Since Jerry was a young girl, Jerry’s parents brought her to Teikoku. The restaurant inspired Jerry’s palate and quickly became one of her favorite spots. I saw Jerry grow with the restaurant throughout the years, culminating in asking me to plan her Bat Mitzvah, an incredibly important milestone in her life.”

When it came to their anniversary party, Teikoku pulled out all the stops. Guests were greeted by Dragon ice luges with Shoju, a sake-liqueur and hand-carved flowers made from fruits and vegetables. Servers passed Kobe cheese steaks, crab cheese spring rolls and pork belly steamed buns. Those in attendance imbibed with customers’ favorite wines, Saketinis and original cocktails, including Dark Side of the Moon, which features vanilla vodka, a shot of espresso and Godiva vodka.

No Teikoku party would be complete without a customized sushi roll. Their Tenth Anniversary roll was packed with sashimi salmon, tempura asparagus and crawfish salad with a caper aioli drizzle.

Over the next decade, Win has one simple wish: to keep everything the same at Teikoku. “We want to see young children in the family returning to dine when they grow up and remember that their parents used to take them here for good food and good time.”

Teikoku is located at 5492 West Chester Pike in Newtown Square; phone: (610) 644-8270.

Before and after photographs credited to and courtesy of Teikoku. Food photos redited to Nina Lea Photography and Gary Colyer.