Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Satay Restaurant

Yippeekai Thai one on


My heart was set on the Korean place, but my body was with The Woman in north Austin and it was rush hour. Common sense says to find a place nearby to wait out the traffic. And once you've been to Satay, good sense tells you to go back. So I did.

Even though the place is named after a very popular Thai appetizer, the first time around we tried something different, the Miang Khum appetizer: a leaf of spinach with bits of fresh ginger, garlic, whole lime, red onion, roasted peanuts and coconut piled like sawdust in the middle. The plate arrived with six. It left empty. These things are the coolest appetizers ever. Along with the coconut salsa, they are irresistible. Next time a plate each, I think. We also had the yam pancakes with Thai seasoning, topped with ginger plum sauce and green onion. They are also worth going back for.

The first time around I broke my normal initial-visit tradition and got the Tiger Cry -- slices of grilled flank steak, red onion, green onion, Thai Basil, Thai hot pepper, ground roasted rice kernel tossed in a Thai fish sauce-lime vinaigrette. Seriously good. The Woman got some seafood thing off the seasonal menu and I didn't take notes, so I can't tell you what was in it, but it was good eating.

The second visit I resorted to tradition and got curry. I went with the Gang-Dang, a hot red curry with bamboo shoots, zucchini and basil in coconut milk. It was just hot enough (which means too hot for most the folks I know) and tasted like I wished I knew how to make. The Woman kept with the seasonal menu again. She loved it, but like her previous selection, the actual name remains a mystery to this day.

The Satay Restaurant has been around for 20 years or so and Dr. Foo Swasdee, the creative force behind it, is a culinary luminary. (I’ve been waiting a long time to fit that into a review.) She used the restaurant as a proving ground for developing various Thai food products, some of which are available from the website. (Rumour has it that Drew Barrymore is enthusiastic about the Phuket Wonder, a healthier version of Pad Prik King. I think I'll try that next time.)

The only downside of the experience is that the portions are right-sized for a meal, so there tends to be no leftovers for lunch the next day. But the menu is full of stuff that sounds like it would be great, and since The Woman and I regularly find ourselves in north Austin around rush hour on Wednesdays, we should have plenty of chances to work our way through it. I’ll make the sacrifice for you. Or you can join us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your second-visit-meal there sounds like a Thai dish I once tried somewhere else and loved. Thai food and I get along like a deaf man and a jabbering woman -- he may not understand the symphony of seasonings but he still nods and smiles and savors the dish. (Is that printable?)