Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spicy, sweet, savory? - Restaurant Sawadika

Wow, I'm so sorry I haven't updated in so long! What with midterms running rampant, I haven't had much time to go restauranting or to write up blog posts. But now that I have thoroughly screwed over my midterms (or is it the other way around?), I present to you a blog post on a taste of Thailand - or is it?

You know those restaurant deal coupons that get sent to you via email? Yeah? Well the sole reason my friend and I decided to check this place out was because we had purchased a $40 coupon for $20 out of curiosity. Otherwise, we wouldn't have even known about this restaurant. (Also, please excuse the lack of accents on my French words. My keyboard isn't cooperating).

Sawadika is a Thai restaurant located in Ville St-Laurent. It has a mix of modern and zen ambiance, and it offers an a la carte menu as well as a tasting menu for around $30. The tasting menu is essentially an AYCE menu, where they serve everything in small portions so that you can taste a bit of everything.
Lots of pretty lights!
Accessibility - Grade: B-
This restaurant is a bit out of the way. It's a 10 minute walk from Côte-Vertu metro, but since it's located on boul. de la Côte-Vertu, it's just a straight walk from the metro.

Service - Grade: B+
To be honest, I was expecting to be given the cold shoulder once we presented the discount coupon to the waitress, which is irrational, because it's not like the waiters care how much money you spend at the restaurant, right? But nope, the service was pretty exceptional throughout the evening. The waitress who took our order was always smiling, and politely gave us suggestions and answered our questions. The waiter who brought out our dishes always introduced them to us. The only problem was that as the night progressed, it became harder to flag down a waiter. Otherwise, though, the service was more than satisfactory.

Food - Grade: C+

Great service and great ambiance for an Asian restaurant? I knew there had to be something off, hur hur. Again, it's not that the food is bad, but it is rather generic Westernized Thai food, which just isn't my cup of cha-yen.

Hot and Sour Soup with Lemongrass
We started off with two soups, one of them being a hot and sour soup with lemongrass. It was pretty standard hot and sour soup, although it wasn't all that spicy. The lemongrass definitely added a more exotic and floral frangrance to the soup.

Tom Yum soup
The Tom Yum soup wasn't bad. It had plenty of of ingredients, and just the right sourness, as well as that fragrance from the lemongrass. I did find it a bit watery, though, and a bit on the sweet side. I think it could have done with a bit more spice.

We ordered three different appetizers: the crab cakes (right), the shrimp imperial roll (center) and some kind of fried shrimp dumpling (left). This plate was pretty forgettable. The crab cake was dry and rubbery and the shrimp imperial roll was flaky and tasteless. I don't even remember what the dumpling tasted like, but it obviously wasn't memorable. They were all served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce that tasted a bit like the stuff you buy from the supermarket.

Papaya salad
The papaya salad was bland. The papaya itself tasted like it hadn't ripened. The only things that held the salad together were the slices of onions and the crushed peanuts, in my opinion.
Various dishes
We tried a variety of different curries, and ordered one dish from each meat category. Most of the dishes tasted similar. They all had a sweet and sour taste, with a hint of spicy and garlic. The only two dishes that stood out to me were the garlic eggplant (front) and the green curry, but even then...

The garlic eggplant had large chunks of eggplant stir-fried with bamboo shoots in a garlic sauce. The eggplant was soft and mushy while the skin remained slightly chewy. As for the green curry, out of a scale of one hot pepper to three hot peppers, this dish apparently rated a fireball, which is to say that it's one of the spiciest dishes. It really isn't that spicy. And the curry was also a bit watery. Otherwise, it tasted like standard green curry.

Price - $$-$
The price for the tasting menu is something like $28.99 on Fridays and weekends, and $26.99 on weekdays, which is pretty pricey for a meal, but normal in the AYCE scene. Their a la carte menu seems to be around $15-20 for a dish.

Final Grade: B-
I gave the food a C+, but I had to give the restaurant points for its ambiance and service. If you like Americanized Thai food and are looking for a restaurant with great ambiance where you can bring your own wine, then Sawadika would be a pretty good choice. But since I still value the quality of the food over atmosphere, I don't think I'll be returning here anytime soon.

1800, boul. de la Côte-Vertu (corner Marcel-Laurin), Montreal


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