Thursday August 29, 2013
Comfort food need not be limited to Nashville's many meat and threes. Nor are hot chicken joints the only place to get a thorough tongue torching in town. Sometimes, there's nothing more satisfying than a plate of noodles or an oversized bowl of noodle soup. From Nolensville Road and Antioch to Charlotte Ave, East Nashville and beyond, Nashville has a wide variety of quality Asian restaurants, new and old. Below are some of our favorite slurpable meals in town.
Yaki-Udon, Soy Teriyaki Bistro: Nothing against the regular menu at Brentwood's Korean/Japanese standout Soy Bistro, which includes great Korean tacos, curried fried rice, and teriyaki dishes with their excellent house made sauce, but the daily specials tend to steal the show. Monday brings their addictive yaki-udon, with tender, thick udon noodles topped with edamame, carrots, broccoli, onion and a light spicy sauce.
Pad Kee Mao, Thai Phooket: Decisions can be difficult at "Stadium Thai" (as some refer to it), with an extensive menu and tasty renditions of Massaman curry, cashew nut chicken and a spicy mango basil stir-fry. But their drunken noodles, a good measuring stick for any Thai restaurant, are exemplary, with a heapin' helpin' of wide rice noodles laden with garlic and basil goodness, topped with a ton of vegetables, and packing plenty of heat.
Tom Yum Hot Pot, PS Noodle Pot: Noodle lovers in-the-know take no issue with trekking to Antioch's PS Noodle Pot. Large plated noodle dishes such as spicy Thai lo mein and chicken with peanut sauce over pan-fried rice noodles are fantastic, but the oversized clay pots filled with noodle soups are the biggest draw — the lemony Tom Yum with fresh herbs and vegetables stands out in particular.
(ba mee nam noodle soup)
Bun Thit Nuong, Far East: The perfect remedy for a sweltering Nashville summer day, Far East's cold vermicelli bowl with grilled pork is chock-full of fresh herbs and flavor. Bonus points for the adorable tiny spring rolls garnishes.
Khao Soi, Siam Cuisine: A unique Northern Thai curry noodle soup that you won't find everywhere, the khao soi at Siam Cuisine (sister restaurant of Siam Cafe, which introduced much of Nashville to Thai cuisine) consists of pickled mustard greens, scallions, bean sprouts, cilantro and chicken. It's topped with crunchy egg noodles and raw red onion, resulting in a delightful combination of textures and deep curry flavor.
Malaysian Noodles, King Market: Yet another victory for Antioch noodle enthusiasts, Thai/Laotian grocery/restaurant King Market should appear on any adventurous Nashville eater's bucket list — frog legs, fish maw soup, fried quail and a few other items that require translation appear on the menu. Their delicious Malaysian take on pad see-ew consists of broad rice noodles served with chicken and small Lao pork sausages in an earthy soy sauce base. Hotheads might consider the deathly fiery (if requested that way) kao soy. Unlike the curry-like version of this dish mentioned above, the Lao rendition is a beef broth with ground pork, scallions, greens, cilantro, thick flat rice noodles, and an ungodly amount of chilies.
India Curry Noodle, International Market - Long before Arnold Myint was making food TV appearances and opening trendy fusion restaurants all over town, his not-so-shy mother Patti was running the show at Nashville's longest tenured Asian restaurant. Tempting as the glass noodles and curry egg rolls of the steam table may be, your best bet is the made-to-order Thai menu, which offers drunken noodles, Singapore rice noodles, and the seemingly bottomless India curry noodle. A delicate balance of spicy and sweet (that would be the coconut milk), this curry noodle soup will cure what ails ya.
Pad Thai, Peter's Sushi & Thai: Yeah, yeah. We all have that haughty foodie friend who will taunt us unmercifully for being so predictable as to order pad Thai instead of something more atypical. But sometimes, it's just the right order, damnit. Peter's rendition is among the best in town, with chicken, shrimp, egg, a subtle tamarind sauce, and compartmentalized toppings to be added at your own discretion — sprouts, scallions, peanuts and red pepper.
Great bowls of fire! (kao soy from King Market)