Friday, June 29, 2007

International Market

Nashville Restaurants and Food
International Market
2010 Belmont Blvd.

The International Market is a Nashville institution that has experienced a curious reputation change, due to Nashville’s rapidly developing restaurant scene. When they opened in 1975, Southeast Asian cuisine was a new thing for Nashville. The International Market introduced people to Thai food and helped blaze trails for dozens of ethnic restaurants to follow. Times change and now there are a number of Thai restaurants, some quite good, in Nashville. This has increased expectations of customers and some folks are now turned off with the International Market food quality. They occupy a unique niche, though, and it’s unfair to judge a low cost buffet style meal with a sit-down, white linen place.

The International Market cafeteria style food line is legendary. There are a couple dozen choices available at all times. The food runs the gamut from classic Thai to Chinese and sometimes a few other Southeast Asian points in between. The chicken in green curry, chicken curry sticks, spring rolls, egg rolls and various fried rice options are staples. There’s plenty to choose from for vegetarians and meat eaters. You can also order off the menu. We ordered the pad Thai the other day and were quickly presented with a hot plate of the noodle dish. You could taste the fresh ingredients, like the crisp peanuts, but the pad Thai was lacking kick and flavor. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. This is not a good sign for a Thai joint. The pad Thai should be a signature dish, not an after thought.

Still, we’ve never spent more than $15 for two and always had a satisfying meal. There are not many places in Nashville you can say that about anymore. The International Market may not be blazing any new trails, but it certainly still has a place in Nashville’s restaurant scene.

Meat Eater: I can’t help it…I love this place. I know the food isn’t high brow, and there is certainly better Thai to be found; however it is perfect after bar food.

Veggie Eater: OK, so the food may not be spectacular, but it is good. There’s plenty of vegetarian options, and it’s dirt cheap. I almost always choose far too many things and end up taking my leftover’s home for a much anticipated lunch. They have many condiments available to spice up dishes as you like. The people are always friendly. I once left my purse under a booth, and did not realize it for a half hour. I panicked when I saw it was no longer where I had left it. The woman at the register noticed my look and pointed at the purse hanging behind her.
International Market on Urbanspoon