One of the pleasures of living in Midtown Atlanta? Walking to dinner. Within two blocks of our condo, there are more than twenty-five restaurants: pizza, sushi, TexMex, American fusion, burgers, pub food, chicken, sandwiches and salads … the list goes on and on.
So tonight, when Google tells us Peachtree Street, Piedmont Avenue, and Monroe Avenue are overloaded with commuter traffic, we meet up at Tamarind Seed Thai. Squished into the base of the splendidly 1970’s Colony Square tower, Tamarind (owned by the folks who run the far more expensive Nan) is easy to miss. But it isn’t overlooked — in fact, tonight, with an Atlanta Symphony event going on down the block, it’s packed with well-dressed, elderly diners.
Based on prior experience here, that’s pretty much the niche Tamarind has carved out for itself, at least in the evenings: older guests who still like to dress for dinner (and eat before seven). It’s not an unpleasant group, but, as a result, you probably won’t feel too comfortable if you’re sauntering in the door in shorts and flip-flops.
Clyde orders a seafood dish, and I get the oddly named Pad-Hor-Ra-Par, which is a bit like larb gai (ground chicken, mint, citrus, and hot chilis) make with the goodies you usually find in gai pad prik (savory chicken with onions and peppers). It’s got a lot of flavor — and, frankly, a lot of sodium. In fact, I catch myself wondering if “Pad-Hor-Ra-Por” is Thai for “Is this too salty to eat?”
At the end of the meal, I catch myself wondering why we don’t walk up here more often — but when the bill comes, I remember. Two people can’t get out of Tamarind for less than thirty-five to forty bucks — and that’s for just two entrees and two glasses of water. Add an order of jeebs (little bags of ground chicken and spices) and a couple of Singha Beers, and you’re in for more than half a hundred dollars.
At that rate, we can’t add Tamarind to our list of “Any Tuesday Night” restaurants (places you’d go for great food on a whim, without a thought about expense) — but it’s still a fine choice for the occasional night out.