New Restaurant Alert: Isan Thai

By Megan McDonald June 13, 2012

Isan Thai on South Tamiami Trail

And they keep coming--these entirely new and wonderful restaurants. Large and small, from ethnic to wine bar, Sarasota is emerging from any inkling of a slowdown. In fact, just last night, while tucking into chickpea fries and a glass of wine at Carmel Café, fellow food writer Abby Weingarten shared info about a new seafood restaurant opening in Sarasota Square mall called Coynes Pier 28. So, of course, I had to share a few of my new discoveries.

Isan Thai, located next to Café Bologna on South Tamiami Trail, just past Philippi Estate, is one of those delicious discoveries. I cannot take credit, however; the owners of Taste of Asia shared the good news of this little gem. Trust me, considering how amazing the food at Taste of Asia is, if they recommend another restaurant, I believe them.

Sai grok Isan.

Isan Thai is a blend of the may cultural flavors of its homeland. The signature dish is the sai grok Isan--a homemade local sausage from the Northeastern region of Thailand, and a masterpiece, with hints of garlic and pork blended to indulge with a little white rice. There are two types of papaya salad: Thai papaya offers Thai chili, tomatoes, roasted peanuts and, of course, the quintessential splash of fresh lime juice, while Isan Papaya offers green papayas with anchovies. Both were refreshing with a nice kick of heat.

Shrimp pad Thai

While we were a bit disappointed with the roast duck (it was a bit dry and sauced too thinly), we rebounded with the saucy shrimp pad Thai, crispy spring roll and red curry with chicken. I was dining with a friend who has visited Thailand many times and he said he felt home with these dishes. Many of the signature entrees are prepared with holly basil, indigenous to the owner's  home region in Thailand and grown at her own home here in our area.

Cool, refreshing mango ice cream.

And do not miss the homemade mango ice cream or the non-dairy coconut, loaded with fresh pieces of shredded coconut goodness. We will be back and again and again and again.

Also big on my radar: The new Shore Diner on St. Armands Circle is coming up next week for review, but here’s a hint: GET THE FRIED CHICKEN.

Do you have a new favorite? Leave a comment and let me know!

For more foodie bits and bytes, become a fan of Chef Judi on Facebook or follow @ChefJudi on Twitter.

And for even more ways to get Sarasota Magazine, become a fan on Facebook or follow @SarasotaMagazin on Twitter.

Filed under
Show Comments