September 1, 2023 | OPINION | By Sam Treat
Greetings, returning eaters, and welcome to all the new eyes who are reading this. It is with great pleasure and honor that I return to The Catalyst to continue to bring weekly culinary musings.
I spent my summer in Missoula, Mont., a place with a surprisingly vibrant food scene. Luckily for me, one of my roommates worked as a barbecue cook, so I was treated to bountiful portions of slow-cooked red meat. Yet, even with my forays into various Americana restaurants and cuisines, I found myself craving something with some spice to it.
Growing up, I lived down the street from a delicious Thai restaurant that served hearty portions at affordable prices. Since then, I have unfortunately struggled to find restaurants that deliver in that same way. My difficulties continued over the summer, as Missoula is more or less devoid of authentic Asian food. Upon returning to Colorado Springs, I knew I needed to resume my quest. That is why I chose Thai Satay as my first review for this year.
Thai Satay is a family-owned restaurant that specializes in authentic and classic Thai dishes. The most popular menu items include chicken skewers, basil chicken rice, Pad Thai, spring rolls, and gyoza. The restaurant offers limited in-person dining. Their primary business, according to their website, is takeout and delivery. Mitigating the pressures and time constraints of First Week, I opted for the latter.
Pad Thai is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. I wholeheartedly believe there is little that hits harder than a hot Styrofoam container of Pad Thai after a long day. In recent years, $14 to $18 prices for half-filled takeout containers have hampered my search for just that. Thankfully, Thai Satay offers their Pad Thai with chicken (the best way to get it, I believe) for only $11.99. While the portion size wasn’t overly impressive, it did the trick for that price.
The noodles were exactly as I had pictured them in my imagination: steaming hot and crowded with chicken. I got the dish at a spice level three-out-of-five, and it was not playing around. My cheeks were flushed, and I got the inevitable “first bite of spicy food” hiccups, but the spice did not take away from the chili-tamarind-sugar sauce that the rice noodles are fried in. The flavor was amazing. The bits of fried egg were plentiful, and the meal left me full. Not bad for 12 bucks.
The second dish I sampled was the veggie fried rice. Yes, you read that correctly – veggie. New year, new me. No longer will this food column be solely dedicated towards touting the benefits and rewards of eating absurd portions of red meat. I’ve seen the light; I now understand that vegetables can, in some cases, be healthy.
While I had middling expectations for this dish, I can honestly tell you that it – and I don’t say this lightly – slapped. The rice was incredibly flavorful, perfectly cooked, slightly oily (in a good, fried rice kind of way) and surprisingly filling (a much larger portion than the Pad Thai).
Finally, I went with the spring rolls. The spring rolls each contained the typical ingredients: lettuce, bean sprouts, cabbage, and three whole shrimp. As I would expect from any Thai restaurant worthy of a Treat’s Eats review, accompanying the rolls was an absolutely delectable peanut sauce for dipping. The rolls were fantastic, with perfect texture, a good portion size, and held together well.
There is nothing worse than hand-held food falling apart as you eat. Fear not, my dear Eaters (that is my new nickname for my four dedicated fans – thanks for reading), these rolls were firm.
After this meal, Thai Satay is a true favorite. With affordable prices that still provide you with leftover-size portions, it is a rarity in today’s world. I recommend stepping out of your comfort level spice-wise and ordering more than one thing to give a robust flavor profile to your meal.
Eaters, I am very pleased to be back, and I will continue to bring you the most groundbreaking food reviews of all time. Please reach out with suggestions, as I am always looking for new spots to try (nothing vegan, though; I haven’t gone that far into my health acknowledgement).