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New Thai Restaurant in Chattanooga

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New Thai Restaurant in Chattanooga

union_98 | Apr 1, 2008 07:56 AM

Went to the opening of Rain, Thai Bistro last night. I forgot the camera :( but we will be going back soon.

Please be patient with me. This is my first try at a restaurant/food review. *grin* I am going to start practicing now for my trip to Alaska in August. *LOL*

Rain is located on the east side of Chattanooga, about a mile and half from Interstate 75, in a strip mall. The entrance is, from a distance, unassuming. But as you get closer, you see that instead of a narrow door, it is really the entrance into an elegant foyer.

There are several large rooms in which to be seated in but the showcase room is in the middle of the restaurant. It is bordered by panes of glass with water running through them, hence the restaurant's name, "Rain". This room has approximately 10 tables which are low to the floor (with room underneath to sit comfortably. I apologize, I don't know the proper term for this style of seating.) so that the waiters are on their knees when they come to the tables to wait on you.

At the back of the building, there are more tables and a sushi bar which is where we decided to sit.

My husband and I shared a sushi roll. I tend to go on the conservative side with sushi but I get tired of California rolls. One of the several sushi chefs behind the counter was happy to make a custom roll for me. I asked for no rice & cooked meat ($4.00) I didn't look closely, (It was too pretty to dissect!) but it had crab and vegetables wrapped in pink with a sprinkling of crunchy potato topping. It was very good!

After looking at the huge menu (18 main course & 10 noodle & rice dishes) I finally decided to go with the sushi chef's recommendation which was the Classic Pad Thai, which I ordered with medium heat for $14.00. My husband chose the Ginger Chicken, hot for $12.00.

Since we were with a large group, and had told our waiter that we weren't in a hurry, it took a little bit to get our dishes. In the meantime, we had our sushi roll and we were served a single Rain's Crispy Roll. The wrapper was nice and crispy even though it was served in a small dish of tangy, sweet sauce. The beef and vegetables were finely chopped and I thought the flavors were well balanced. I will probably order a starter serving ($8) next time.

The dishes, when they arrived, held heaping portions. Both plates were well garnished. My Pad Thai had a serving of finely chopped peanuts, bamboo shoots, shredded carrots, cabbage (or bok choy, I'm not sure) and a slice of lime. I've not had Thai often and I didn't know I was supposed to stir in the vegetables into the noodles. Ah well, live and learn. I _did_ squeeze the lime over the entire dish which I thought added a great level of fresh flavor to the food.

The description of the dish is "Thin rice noodles stir fried with eggs, chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, and a side of peanuts in a tamarind sauce." There were five or six medium sized shrimp (tail on) and wonderful wafers of tender chicken. I didn't notice any egg in the dish.

My husband's dish had Thai style stir fried chicken with fresh ginger, bell peppers, scallions, carrots and mushrooms. The portion was large, the peppers and mushrooms chunky. His garnish contained carrots and cabbage. (Several dishes nearby had wonderful radish roses but we didn't get any.) Both of our dishes came with generous bowls of white steamed sticky rice.

My only critique is that I didn't notice any heat in the Pad Thai that was supposed to be medium. My husband's dish had a heaping teaspoon of red pepper flakes on the side that he stirred into his food. He said next time he would order it Thai Hot instead.

We do enjoy spicy food so I'm sure the chefs' are being overly cautious - which is fine now that we know how they're cooking. Better to add since you can't take away!

The portions were huge (lunch!) so we didn't order desert (I'm not much on deserts anyway) but a friend ordered the Fried Bananas. Four large strips of bananas, coated with coconut flour, toasted sesame seeds and fried, served with vanilla bean ice cream and a garnish of mango. It looked delicious!

They also offer Fried Ice Cream, Thai Custard, Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango and Bua Loy Ka Nom Wan which sounds very interesting. It's Thai rice flour pastry stuffed with sweetened yellow beans and simmered in warm coconut milk! Yum!

Desert prices averaged $8.00. Entrees ranged from $12 to about $16 with the most expensive going to the Rain's Salmon at $20.

There were many vegetarian options on the menu with six different curries. At close by table, a group was vegetarian and eating tofu curry although I didn't notice tofu listed on the menu.

Someone close by ordered the Garlic Delight with beef, served over a bed of steamed broccoli that I think I may try next time. Or maybe the Spicy Thai Steak House salad with chili lime dressing. Or maybe the Spicy Basil Noodles with seafood, or Thai Spicy fried rice with seafood, garlic, chili peppers, basil. . .

I'm hungry already!

Some of the subtle touches that I liked: black lacquered chop sticks wrapped in the cloth napkins with the silverware; glassware simple with elegant lines (Crate and Barrel I was told); the ladies room had large mirrors, prints on the walls and a tall flower arraignment, marble counters with brass sinks and Asian style bathroom accessories.

Can't wait for our next meal at Rain, Thai Bistro!

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