Saturday, August 8, 2015

Erawan Organic Thai Restaurant - Sandy Springs Georgia at Towbridge and Roswell Rds

You can find Erawan Organic Thai Restaurant at 7537 Roswell Rd, Atlanta, GA 30350 in the Towbridge Crossing shopping center anchored by Publix on Roswell Rd, about 3 blocks North of the Abernathy Rd intersection.

I've always thought there was an unusual lack of decent Thai restaurants in the Perimeter Mall area - sure there's Singha Thai in Dunwoody, Little Thai Cuisine on Sandy Springs Cir and Simply Thai on N Shallowford Rd, but while they are all decent restaurants (the standout is Singha Thai) they are a bit on the Americanized side of Thai with dumbed-down spice levels and rather indistinctive flavors. Even the very popular and now defunct Thai Star (the building was replaced by a development) near the Concourse was, to me a bit pricy and not quite there. And forget completely about the Thai items available at Chin Chin across from the Concourse - it's complete crap. In any case, from my work location at Northpark all the Thai restaurants were so far away that it was more pain than it was worth to visit them, so I was very happy to discover Erawan.

As the name implies, Erawan is an organic restaurant and the food is quite good. It still suffers from a bit of "dummying down" of the distinctive flavors but I can understand that as the typical American palate isn't very sophisticated. That being said, all of the constituent parts of the items I tired were very good and fresh. You can taste the individual spices in the curries and the sauces will get you sopping up every drop.

The meal started with Spring Rolls which I thought good but nothing special. We also ordered an Erawan roll from the sushi menu which was surprisingly good - it usually scares me a bit to order sushi at a non-sushi restaurant as I haven't had very good luck with that, but fortunately Erawan did a good job, at least with this roll (Avocado and Eel). 

I usually order a curry, Panang (also spelled Penang or Pa-Nang) is my favorite and usually what I use to gauge the quality of a Thai restaurant, but today I went for the Basil Chicken as most of our table of four ordered either Panang or Masaman curries. The chicken was perfect, juicy with crisp wok-sauteed veggies and just the right amount of basil and sauce. I love the brown rice mix they have here - most restaurants can't seem to get brown rice right - it's either over or under cooked. I believe this was a mix of brown and Asian short-grain white rice and the consistency and flavor was very good and perfectly cooked (it's tougher to do this than you might think - try it at home some time).

I also tried the other curry dishes and have this to say about them:

The Masaman Chicken was good but I think this curry needed a bit of punch (but that just may be me, as I typically don't order it as I prefer the flavors in the Panang).

The Panang Curry Chicken was very good - I'll probably order this next time. The Penang Curry Tofu didn't taste like much of anything to me but that may be more the type of tofu used - it was the stiff tofu and I like the soft better (however the soft is much harder to stir-fry and keep in tact). I still don't know how the Chinese are able to use the soft without it crumbling into Mapatofu chunks.

The interior was spacious with high ceilings but a bit noisy - it was also very busy - I think we got there just a few minutes before noon and it was nearly full. I liked the decorations, sparse but tasteful. The restaurant as also spotless and very clean. I didn't spot any exterior seating and am doubtful that it exists (with it being in the 90s daily I'd prefer to sit inside anyway).

Parking is right in front - the restaurant faces Roswell Rd with the rest of the shopping center curling around to the right where you'll find the Publix. 

I thought the service initially very good but the staff seemed a little overwhelmed and it took some time to get a water glass refill and our check. I'm still rating this 4 stars for the quality of the food. Prices range just north of $10 and up.

-- John

(shorter version also posted to Yelp)
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