Again, I am behind. Why is summer so busy? Anyway, I went on a recent trip with girlfriends to Sawasdee Thai restaurant after being told by many folks how good it is (and reading the same in many places). For those who might be curious, "Sawasdee" is a word for a bowed Thai greeting.
The restaurant, I have been told, has recently expanded in its strip mall location, and must have been quite small before. It is nicely sized now and was quite full for a Tuesday night. (And I might add, quite warm! For someone who usually brings a sweater to restaurants in this City in the summer due to the crazy air conditioning, I was flushed by the time I left Sawasdee).
So I ordered something off the menu that seems to be as large as the phone book (the menu, not what I ordered). OK, I am not going to be able to remember what its official name is, but it boiled down to chicken (on a side note, I was interested to see how many different ways "chicken" was spelled on this menu--when people are writing menus, do they forget all about spell check?) with garlic and black pepper sauce and seemed to have some crushed peanuts on top. (Another side note, as a Mom of a child with peanut and tree nut allergies, I would NOT take such children here since it appears that out of the 4 meals on the table, 3 of them contained peanuts and/or cashews--ok, one of them was "cashew chicken," but still). Once you finally narrow down what you are going to order, you then need to choose your meat, which could be chicken, beef, pork, shrimp and even sometimes squid. It takes AWHILE to get through this menu. I think I now know the true reason people just always order their favorite here. It is so much easier! If it were my restaurant, I would try to get it onto a couple of larger pages and make certain dishes with the ingredients that might benefit the most from the accompaniments. But that's just me.
Anyway, as for the food, it was good (I also tried the drunken noodles). They brought you soup and an spring roll to start. The spring roll was really crispy which is how I really like my spring rolls. The soup was sort of nondescript. Since I generally don't like sweet sauces in which to dip my spring roll (or anything else) I used the soup to dip in. It was pretty good. The entrees came with steamed rice (except the drunken noodles) and my entree was also pretty good. It wasn't amazing and the chicken was a little overcooked I thought. The sauce sort of had that eggy consistency to it that a lot of Asian restaurant meals have. None of it was super flavorful, but I probably should have gotten it spicier (oh yeah, that was yet another choice. Once you picked your entree, you chose between mild, medium, spicy and Thai hot). By that time I was overwhelmed and just said "mild" which may have been a mistake.
The service was quite nice and at one point when we ordered a second glass of wine, the manager?/owner? came to our table, opened the bottle and let us taste it, even when we only ordered a glass. Also, one of the other big benefits of this place is the cost. Dinners were only around $10, and they included the spring roll and soup (or Thai salad). All in all, for an Asian-type meal, Shanghai Lil's is still my fave, but it is significantly more expensive, so there you go.
1222 West 86th Street