Travel Tuesday: Thai Dinner in Nashville

Despite my post last week about my least favorite restaurant experience ever, I did have some great food options in Nashville. Surprisingly, it was Thai food. When I think of Nashville I think south. Not deep south, but smother-everything-in-bacon south. The kind of place with southern charm mixed with a Brooklyn-esque hipster vibe. Where mustaches are only slightly ironic and cowboy boots are common place. In none of these preconceived notions of Nashville do I think delicious Thai food.

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Which is why I was somewhat skeptical when my friend suggested we go there for dinner when I was visiting. After spending some time earlier this year in Thailand, I feel like the bar for good Thai food has gone up a bit. But my friend convinced me we should go there and because I knew I’d at least find some tofu on the menu I gave in.

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And I’m glad I did! We beat the rush by about 10 or 15 minutes. As soon as we were seated, it seemed every table in the place was suddenly taken. We started out with a couple of fun cocktails and an appetizer of fried tofu with a sweet and sour sauce. The tofu was great – fried to a serious crisp on the outside and yet still spongey on the inside. And I mean, how can you not love something that’s crispy fried and dunked in sweet and sour sauce?

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One of the dishes that is apparently a specialty of their is some sort of sausage. Which the host let us know about in a strange “try the sausage” whisper as we were seated. My friend and I both half wondered if that was a euphemism or if he was actually suggesting we eat sausage. Turns out that yes, it is a dish that they offer and is apparently made in-house. I did not try it. But my friend can testify that it was good. It looked rather strange to me. And I can’t bring myself to share the photo because deep down I might actually be a twelve-year-old.

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I ordered the massaman curry – actually the first time I’ve had it since the massaman curry in Thailand blew me away. I feel like a lot of curries can be hit or miss and massaman is no exception. I have yet to have a take on it that I really like aside from the one I had on the beach. This one? Was totally amazing and lived up to my memories of good curry. It was slightly spicy and slightly peanut-y with potatoes cooked to the perfect consistency of not-too-mushy and not-too-hard.

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The curry came with sticky rice, which I expected to be just a bit of rice in a bowl but turned out to be this amazing slightly sweet, really sticky, rice served in an awesome little bamboo pot. I ate enough for a small army and was so full and happy at the end of the meal I could barely walk out of the restaurant.

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The service was really fast and with food this good – I can’t wait to head back to Nashville to eat there again. Who knew a random spot in Nashville would have such great Thai food? If you find yourself in the south, definitely make it a point to hit up Thai Esane. You’ll be glad you did!

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