Over the course of the last few weeks, we shared stories from a trip to western Kentucky. This trip was intended to end with a stop at Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine on Brainerd Road in Chattanooga, but we were so absurdly late on the trip that we canceled the stop and came on home. Eight days later, though, we were back in Tennessee to pick up my daughter, and so we selected Sweet Basil as the first of three restaurants that we would visit.
Curiously, as Marie and I exchanged notes, it turned out that we’d both found some good reviews of this Thai restaurant and were curious to visit it. She’d considered it as a possibility for a trip we took this way in the summer of 2014, but we went to Purple Daisy on that visit instead. I read Sean Phipps’ writeup at Nooga.com and was sold. Sean says that Sweet Basil has served the best Thai food in that city “forever,” or at least since it opened about thirty years ago.
It’s perhaps a nicer restaurant than you may expect, given its location in a strip mall on a much-hated, heavy-traffic sprawl artery. It’s very quiet, with low light and whispering servers, the most noise on a Sunday afternoon coming from bored children. The servers are dressed very sharply, and the tables have cloth napkins and nice glasses waiting for you. The prices are pretty reasonable, maybe a bit lower than what you might see in Atlanta. A pencil is waiting on each table in case you’d like to order sushi, which the restaurant added about six years back. We stuck with the Thai suggestions, and I had a cup of tom yum kung soup. Marie was not as keen on this as I was; she thought that the conflicting flavors, particularly the galangal, were too strong, but I thought it was very good.
She was much more pleased with her yellow curry. She usually selects either yellow or masaman curry in Thai restaurants, and this was quite delicious.
As much as I enjoyed the tastes of her curry, I was most impressed with the nam sod. This is one of my own go-to dishes when I visit Thai restaurants. I will typically either have a tofu or vegetable entree or I will have this dish. I think the ground pork is quite light and refreshing, and while I usually don’t eat all of the cabbage, I enjoy making a few small wraps before eating the rest with my fork. I just really like the mix of the lime juice, red onions, and the mild spices, and I’ve had this at eight or nine different Thai restaurants. Sweet Basil’s may be my favorite. This was a really wonderful lunch, and the best of the three meals that we had on this day trip.
Other blog posts about Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine:
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