Sunday, September 11, 2011
5532 Old Hickory Blvd.
Out with one Thai restaurant and in with another. The good news for folks in Hermitage is that Dusit Thai is a definite upgrade in quality. Owner Chutima Treesri took over the former Royal Thai location and has kept much of the décor. It’s a large, stylish dining space with tall ceilings. They’re still hustling to get the place going. The staff is limited. Just one person worked the front room on our visits and yet service was attentive and swift.
The menu is the usual Thai fare. We began with deep-fried veggies and found the tempura-like fry flavorful and the salty-sweet dipping sauce a worthy companion. The fresh rolls are wrapped up plump and filled with crisp veggies inside. Seafood curry comes sealed in foil to steam the seafood. I order medium and yet it has pretty decent heat. If you ask for hot they’ll give it to you, and that’s nice to see. The red curry has an excellent flavor. Some of the seafood was a bit overcooked. The menu promised a soup or salad with the curry and nothing materialized.
Our second visit started with Tom Kha soup. The coconut broth is deep, rich and slightly spicy. Pa-Ram is a satay-like peanut sauce served with choice of meat, tofu or veggies. The pork is tender and the creamy noodles are a standout. It’s an excellent dish.
Dusit Thai has a vegetarian section on the menu and offers most entrees and curries with veggie and tofu options.
Veggie Eater: Dusit Thai is definitely accommodating to the veggie eater. They even have a vegetarian veggie soup, a delicate affair of peas, cabbage, carrots, bean thread noodles, and tofu, flavored with lemongrass and cilantro. During our first visit, I had the Panang Curry with tofu and found the velvety sauce mildly spicy. Second time out, I opted for the Pad Kee Mau (advertised as “basil noodles” on the menu). Wide rice noodles are topped with peppers, carrots, onion, mushrooms in a moderately peppy sauce. I could in fact see the speckles of pepper flakes in my dish. What was harder to discern was the basil; seemed a bit stingy on the one ingredient for which the dish is named. Almost every single dish has a “Tofu” or “Vegetarian” option. Annoyances: the very loud beeping every time someone enters the restaurant through the front door (it’s almost jarring) and during our first visit, the soft rock station was not fully tuned and so we listened to static-y music. Second visit had the same soft rock station playing in the background, but thankfully no reception problems, allowing me to at least tune out the bad soft rock. (M.E. The door beep, necessary for the hardworking staff to know when someone has entered the restaurant, has been an issue for the Veggie Eater for some years now, at many a restaurant. The cause of her distress? Who knows. Perhaps some sort of aversive training experienced as a child).
Meat Eater: Satisfying is the best way to sum up our experience at Dusit Thai. Aside from a couple of glitches, the food, the surroundings and the service left us contented. We paid $43 with tax and tip on one visit (and for a bunch of food) and $37 on the second visit.