The Road, Episode 26: Thai Taste [Eating Our Way Down Nolensville Pike]

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If this review were a Trinidad James song it would be All Tofu Everything
  • If this review were a Trinidad James song it would be "All Tofu Everything"
Welcome to The Road, my column in which I'm going to attempt — key word: attempt — to eat at every non-chain restaurant on Nolensville Pike between I-440 and the county line. I'll readily admit that even though I live right off Nolensville — Paragon Mills represent! — and revel in the diversity and quantity of its eateries, I have barely scratched the surface of what the strip has to offer. But now I'm going to rectify that, and hopefully you'll join for what's likely to be a wild ride.

Episode 26: Thai Taste
Address: 395 Haywood Lane
Phone: 834-9250

OK, folks, it's time for some new rules! Not only am I going to try and eat at all the restaurants on Nolensville Pike, but for the next month or so, I'm going to try and do it as a veg- and/or pesceterian! The wife and I decide that it was time to reform our diet a bit and do one of these fancy "cleanse" things they've got at the fancy hippie grocery store, and part of the deal with that is that we can't/shouldn't eat meat, diary, gluten, booze, nicotine, caffeine and anything else that's really fun and/or awesome. It's an exercise in self-control, which is really the exercise I'm least qualified for — but I'm trying! (Good lord, am I trying.) Thankfully I was hooked on the tofu at Thai Taste long before I started this foolish cleanse nonsense, and that's making it all the easier.

I'm going to be upfront with you — Thai Taste is my go-to Thai joint. If two weeks go by and I don't get takeout from Thai Taste, then something is really, really wrong, and you should send someone to my house to make sure I'm alive. And while we could probably argue the finer points of every Thai joint on The Road — they could all make claims to be the best — I'm just going to say this place is my favorite and leave it at that. I love the ladies who work there, the food always hits the spot, it's close to my house and easy to get to even during the rush-hour clusterfuck. But most importantly, it's behind my favorite store in the whole world: Sexy Fashion for Whole Family. I've never gone inside Sexy Fashion, but with a name like that, what's not to love?

Thai Taste, as you may have surmised from the address above, is actually right off Nolensville Pike at the corner of Haywood lane, across from Art Pancake's Party & Wedding rental, which is probably my second favorite name for a retail store. ("Hello, is this Art? Yeah, I'd like to rent a wedding. And can I get a short stack of flapjacks, too?") The building is short, unassuming, the dining room decor minimal — although it does seem that they've added a disco light, some streamers and a patch of removable wood floor for when it's time to get funky. It's clean, small and cozy, without a lot of bells and whistles, which is what I like, it means people are concentrating on the food.

And the food! I've eaten my way around this entire menu if I'm not mistaken, on both the carnivorous and herbivorous tip — beef fans need to try the Tiger Tear Salad — but the reason I keep going back is for the tofu. It's crinkle-cut! Which, seems like the most juvenile of reasons to enjoy a restaurant, but I'm nothing if not a man-child. The crinkle-cut affords more surface area for frying and flavor absorption which makes the tofu feel like a greater part of the entree rather than just an addendum of jiggly bean-curd. Tofu, when cooked well, is a pretty awesome protein source and the way the Ladies at Thai Taste work it's frankly a godsend to this temporary-vegetarian. In the pad kee mao, in the hung ray curry, however you want it serve, it's awesome.

Which brings me to my big question: where do y'all vegemetarians usually go out to eat when you're on The Road? Is there any place I absolutely must try? Also, is there any place to get Indian food on The Road besides going grocery shopping at Patel Brothers? I'm hankerin' for some Indian, but it looks like I might have to head across town to get me some.

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