Recently I had dinner with retired local food blogger, braingirl. She convinced me it was time to give Sawasdee another shot after my first visit was underwhelming (and looking back at it, what a crappily written post). Anyway, I have been meaning to go back and jumped on the opportunity to go with someone who knew the highs and lows of the menu.
So we decided to get lots of stuff so we could try several flavors and figured we would just take the extra home. She suggested the Thai toast (#3 for those of you following along) for a starter. These were little slices of deep fried crunchy bread with some bits of pork. They were served with a sort of cucumber salad—almost like a cucumber salsa. I really enjoyed the Thai toast—they were nice and crispy on the outside edges but with just a little hint of chewiness from the bread. The cucumber salad gave a fresh bright snap with the flavors and was also just a little sweet and sour. I really liked them.
Each entrée comes with soup and a spring roll as well. The soup was their Thom Yum (or hot and sour). It had a nice kick to it—spicy without being so spicy it choked you on the way down. A deep peppery flavor though. The spring roll was fine. I don’t know, I think I am getting burned out on spring rolls. Everyone serves them and rarely are they anything super exciting. This one was no exception.
We shared three different things—the Drunken Noodles with pork, the Massaman Curry with chicken and a special of the day—crispy tilapia with 3 layer sauce (I think I have that name right). Overall, the Drunken Noodles were my favorite. Their noodles are really wide—so wide at first you don’t even think it is a noodle and was mixed with the little pieces of stir fried pork, and various veggies—onions, peppers, and tomatoes (ok, that’s a fruit, but still). There was a fair amount of basil as well giving the dish a nice aromatic basil flavor. The sauce was slightly sweet but with soy and plenty of pepper as well. A bit of spice, but really more a light tangy flavor. The pork added a nice richness. There is a lot going on in these noodles, but it all came together as a tasty dish.
The Massaman curry was not bad. I have to admit a lot of curries aren’t my favorite because sometimes the coconut milk flavor turns the whole thing a little too sweet, but this one was pretty well balanced. Pleasantly spicy –the curry paste usually includes things like peanuts, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallots, lots of spices (coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, etc) as well as the chilies. The paste is mixed with the coconut milk, potato and more peanuts and you get a deep richly flavored almost stew like consistency. We had it with chicken—the pieces of chicken were tender as were the potato chunks. You could taste the sweetness of the coconut milk, but it did not overwhelm the other flavors too much and worked pretty well together. While it was pretty good, I still preferred the bright flavors of the noodles.
1222 West 86th Street