Thai Esane, a New Nashville Favorite
Esane Sausgae at Thai Esane
There aren’t many restaurants that I visit on a regular basis these days because, well, there are so many new restaurants to try in Nashville. But, Thai Esane is an exception. I’ve been there more than any other dining spot in the past couple of months because it’s too good not to go back to.
Opened in June at the far end of 12 South almost to the Gulch, Thai Esane has become a popular lunch spot for many of my food blogger/writer and social media friends. In fact, it’s rare that a day goes by that I don’t see someone posting on Twitter or Instagram about their meal there. And it’s all praise!
Nina Sayasack, the proprietor, was already known to fans of the popular King Market in Antioch, her family’s Thai Laotian cafe. When word began to spread that she was opening a place on 12 South, excitement commenced, and for good reason.
The menu at Thai Esane is huge, so it’s going to take a while to eat my way through it. Luckily I have a couple of friends that have done a great job of pointing out the best of the best. Vivek and Tabitha have both been dining partners of mine at the restaurant, and they’ve both eaten there much more than I even have, so they’re experts on the offerings. Be sure to check out their posts found here and here. (Vivek’s write up includes several ethnic eateries in Nashville. You’ll find Thai Esane if you scroll down a bit)
Papaya Salad at Thai Esane
That said, I’m sharing some pics of what I’ve found to be a few of my personal favorites so far. I love dumplings, and so I often like to start the meal with an order of the steamed dumplings, a wonton stuffed full of chicken, mushrooms, celery, carrots, cabbage and onions. The Papaya salad is also a great, light, refreshing starter to share.
Vivek turned me on to the Esane sausage, which is made with ground pork, lemongrass, onions, and ginger. Served with rice and sauce for dipping, I suggest getting an order to split with the rest of your table.
Thai Esane’s Tiger Tear Salad
My favorite dish, probably partly because it has been so darn hot lately, is the Tiger Tear salad. Made up of thin sliced beef in lime juice, fish sauce, onions, jalapenos, peppers, carrots and herbs, it’s perfectly refreshing and light (though filling!) on a warm day.
The larb (no photo of this one) is also another cold salad that’s great. It’s minced meat (I prefer pork) mixed with red onion, cilantro, green onions, chiles, lime juice and rice powder. (Side note: I order “medium” on all of my dishes at Thai Esane. I love spicy food, but their “hot” is a bit too much for me. Medium gives a pleasing heat that doesn’t overwhelm any of the flavors of the dishes.)
Thai Esane’s Kao Soi: flat thick rice noodles in tomato base with lettuce, beansprouts, cilantro and green onion (add your choice of meat)
Now, the opposite of the cooler, light options on the menu — the bowls of steaming hot soups. The last time I ate here I was with both Tabitha and Vivek. It was 90+ degrees outside, but they both ordered soup! Before then, I hadn’t tried any soups because that’s not really something I think about eating in the summer. When they both did this, I knew there must be something really special about these soups!
I got to sample Tabitha’s chicken noodle (WAY beyond typical chicken noodle) and Vivek’s kao soi, and I’ll say, I cannot wait for it to get colder because these soups will be a staple in my winter diet!
When I was leaving Thai Esane on my last visit, I was thrilled to hear Nina say they were starting delivery service. Deliveries are now up and running, so if you live within a 3 mile radius of their location, you can have all of this deliciousness delivered right to your front door. There is a minimum purchase of $25 and a $5 delivery charge, but I promise, it’s totally worth it!
907 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
M – Thurs 11 – 9
Fri – Sat 11 – 10:30
Sunday – closed