Sunday, April 19, 2009

Satay Thai Grill

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Satay Thai Grill
2412 Elliston Place

When you’re out for lunch a restaurant needs to be fun, informal, and fast. Satay Thai Grill is placed perfectly to be a good lunch spot and if they would keep later hours (they are only open until 8 p.m. on the weekend) it could be a good after bar joint. Satay is just down the street from the Elliston Rock Block and across the street from Vanderbilt University.

There’s a take-out vibe as soon as you hit the door. The order counter is right there. It’s a simple menu, which is another nice feature for the lunch crowd. You order, sit down, and enjoy the bright, original art. Have a chat with your friends and before you know it food appears.

Two appetizers on the menu hit the spot. The fresh rolls are done up in rice paper with crisp carrot, cucumber, lettuce and grilled shrimp inside. They’re plump, flavorful and fresh. The deep fried spring roll has a real crunch and the bean-thread noodle, and cabbage has nice flavor. The dipping sauces, hoisin peanut and plum are okay, but not real standouts.

Tom Yum soup arrives in a plastic bowl (everything was served on plastic for our visit, which is okay: less for you to break). It has a strong broth of lemon grass and lime leaves, tomatoes and nicely cooked shrimp, or your choice of chicken. There’s not a lot of soup there, it’s really just a taste, but at $2.95 that’s about right. It’s nice to be able to enjoy a bunch of low cost dishes.

Satay is of course the centerpiece of the menu. The grilled beef, chicken or shrimp is served on a skewer and you get a choice of steamed rice, fried rice or steamed noodles. There’s a fresh little salad served on the side, with an average vinegar dressing. The beef proves tender and has a nice little char; however it’s kind of laid back in the flavor department. The peanut dipping sauce helps: it’s a little sweet and a little spicy. It’s good satay, but not great. The sticky fried rice is tasty and the noodles are savory. Our friends tried the chicken and it was similar in style: cooked well but with subdued flavor.

The meats also come in grilled and deep fried versions, with the same basic options for rice and noodles. Those items do feature more sauces: curries, panang or sesame ginger glaze.

Veggie Eater: They offer up tofu versions of their entrees, a special request when we visited, but tofu has since been added to the menu. I opted for the steamed noodle satay with tofu. The tofu was pan fried; no additional seasoning to the tofu. The noodles were a bit gloppy and I would have preferred rice noodles with the satay. The peanut sauce was a bit sweet for me and did not have the depth of flavor I normally expect; it seemed to be little more than peanut sauce, coconut milk, and maybe a tiny bit of sambal olek. I guess I anticipated more of a restaurant, but in reality it is kind of a fast food take out joint. If you accept it for what it is, then the food is pretty good.

Meat Eater: The entrees come in at about $8 and the appetizers and soup range from $1.95-$2.95. Satay Thai Grill is a good spot for an inexpensive lunch or dinner. We paid $24 with tax and water.
Satay Thai Grill on Urbanspoon


Terrormisu said...

Hi! Veggie Eater, I have a question. Would you happen to know which Thai restaurants will accommodate a vegan? My boyfriend doesn't eat any animal products whatsoever, but he loves thai food. I'm vegetarian as well, and I don't eat fish...but I love pad thai. I'm not looking for places with specifically vegan dishes, but restaurants that will do little things like leave out egg and fish sauce from their dishes. I'm visiting Nashville in a week and I'm really hoping for some good pad thai...

Thanks in advance!

P.S.- Love the site. :)

Eric and Katie said...

I think that the most likely to accomodate vegan would be (in no order of preference): 1) PM, 2)Golden Thai, and 3)Siam Cuisine. All three tend to be a bit more formal and it strikes me that all three have dishes which appear to be made or altered on the spot. Of the 3, PM has the most restrictive Thai menu, as they have a bit of a Thai-bar food fusion thing going (not bad when you are trying to feed a large group of people). I think it's a toss up between Golden Thai and Siam; both seemed very accomodating to me during my visits and the food was good. Check under "Thai" and you can see reviews of each. Hope you enjoy your visit to our fair city.
Veggie Eater