Wizard Need Food Badly: Tasty Treats At Thai Smile

Monday, May 9, 2016 - by Paquita Maria Sanchez

After going to see Captain America: Civil War, Lionel and I were downtown and looking for something good to eat. Since it was just a short walk away from the theater, we decided to try Thai Smile.

On a different weekend a while back, Lionel and I were with out-of-town family and had almost stopped inside to eat at this very same place. Though the outside doesn’t look like much, the location is fantastic, right in the heart of downtown. We’d first found it while wandering around after a trip to the Tennessee Aquarium.

A quick look at the menu, though, had made us hesitate. For lunch, the prices seemed a little higher than we were willing to risk on a place we didn’t know while entertaining guests. (Basic fried rice, for instance, started at $11.99.)

This time, however, we were alone, and we were really in the mood for Thai.

The restaurant had just opened when we arrived, and the lunch rush didn’t really start till about 1 o’clock, when were were getting up to leave. The interior was what I’d expected, with warm, dark colors, and golden decorations from Thailand. The booths were comfortable and we were seated right away.

I ordered hot green tea, which came in a pretty little teapot with tiny cups ($2.50). Lionel ordered a Singha beer ($4.50).

I had read online that some diners found the service slow, but that was not our experience. Our waitress was friendly, quick, and returned just frequently enough for my liking.

As we waited for our food, debating whether we stood with Ironman or Captain America on the issue of superhero regulation, instrumental versions of pop songs played in the background. Just as a piano rendition of Bastille’s “Pompeii” was wrapping up, and we both had determined that, regardless of which side of the civil war we stood on, Spider-Man’s scenes were really cool.

Lionel got Pad Thai with pork ($11.99), and I ordered a few dishes off the appetizer menu: Golden Tofu ($3.99), Chicken Satay ($6.99), and Fresh Rolls ($4.99).

I loved all three of my items. The Golden Tofu consisted of little bites of fried tofu with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. The Chicken Satay came with chopped, sweetened cucumber, peanut sauce, and three skewers of grilled chicken.

My favorite dish was the Fresh Rolls—cold vegetables and rice noodles wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut sauce. While living abroad in Japan, I had eaten this often, but there it was typically served with a spicy mayonnaise.

Lionel loved his Pad Thai. I thought it was great, too, but I’m pretty picky, since I can’t help but compare it to the Pad Thai that my friends from Thailand used to cook for me. The sauce was a little heavy for my preference, and I missed the dried shrimp and bean curds. Since the peanut dipping sauce was also a bit sweeter than I was used to, I couldn’t help but feel the recipes had been adjusted a bit for American tastes. To be fair, though, there didn’t seem to be anyone but Americans eating in the restaurant.

An interesting note about the menu was that it not only came with a guide for spice levels (1-3 was “American” and 4-6 was “native Thai”), it also came with a warning. If you ordered your dish too spicy and asked for it to be remade, you would have to pay full price.

Lionel had gone with a level 4 for his Pad Thai. It turned out fine for us both, with kick enough to linger but not overpower. That being said, we tend to like things fairly spicy.

All in all, though we really loved the food, and the portions were good, the bill was $38.19 before tip, certainly a bit more than we like to pay when eating lunch for two. After arriving home and checking the website, I realized my oversight.

Though Thai Smile has a lunch menu—with prices I would absolutely expect to pay ($7.99 for most curries, $8.99 for noodle dishes or basic fried rice)—they don’t serve from the lunch menu on weekends, meaning we were paying full dinner price for our midday meal.

We will certainly be back, but perhaps not for lunch on a Saturday or Sunday.

Location: 219 Market St., Chattanooga, Tn 37402

Hours: M-Th 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

            F 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

            Sat 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Dunkin' Donuts Removes Artificial Dyes From Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is kicking off 2018 with news declaring donuts now sold at restaurants nationwide are no longer being made using colors from artificial sources. As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to offer guests great-tasting, high-quality products and cleaner menu labels, Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, previously pledged ... (click for more)

Chick-fil-A To Officially Break Ground For East Ridge Restaurant

Chick-fil-A’s Tennessee expansion continues with a groundbreaking event soon at the site of its new East Ridge restaurant, the second of six locations the chain expects to open in Tennessee this year. It will be near the Bass Pro Shop. Chick-fil-A representatives will join community leaders at the site of the chain’s East Ridge location at  639 Camp Jordan Parkway at Jordan ... (click for more)

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, Shot Early Sunday Morning On Lillian Lane

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, were shot early Sunday morning.   Chattanooga Police were notified at 4:39 a.m. of two people arriving at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. Upon arrival, police spoke with the two victims who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The victims arrived at the hospital via personal vehicle.   ... (click for more)

From Green Window Shutters To Forks And Spoons, Mount Vernon Restaurant Up For Auction

From the green wooden window shutters to the forks, knives and spoons, the landmark Mount Vernon Restaurant is up for auction. Marc Gravitt, of Gravitt Auction, said there will be an online auction starting Thursday morning and running through Saturday at noon. It will be handled as a "staggered close," he said. The first item will go first, then the second 30 seconds later, ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s The ‘Super’ Done?

The headline on Jan. 10 in the Times Free Press read, “Report shows Hamilton County students still lagging behind Tennessee peers.” In smaller type underneath, the sub-head added, “Less than 33 percent of county elementary, middle school students read at grade level.” Then, just seven days later, this on Friday, the same newspaper bannered, “Hamilton County Schools superintendent ... (click for more)