Shepherd Express - February 2021 Issue

Page 22


Curbside for

Sweet Basil Thai and Lao Street Eats By Alisa Malavenda


weet Basil is a family owned restaurant whose simple philosophy, “Make everything from scratch and treat everyone like family,” shines through with their outstanding food. Even through the rough times for restaurants during COVID, Sweet Basil opened their doors and hearts to the community. The restaurant is still not open for dining in, but their curbside pickup is easy to navigate with time slots. Everything comes out hot and fresh. Their system is as precise and impressive as their menu. Sweet Basil serves food with heart, using the best ingredients they can find. They embrace you and bring you into their family through a culinary journey through their favorite Asian street foods, classic entrées and some inspired fusion dishes. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, beautifully presented (even in a to-go box), fresh and oh so delicious. Each eco-friendly takeout container is lined with a banana leaf. The menu is easy to read and the options are geared toward serving customers’ individual palates and dietary restrictions. It starts with a long list of authentic Thai and Laotian small plates. The classic Lao lab with lettuce leaves, chewy Asian ribs, beef teriyaki or jerky and chicken satay are just a few of my favorites ($2-$10). Given the many outstanding choices, we found it exciting that they offer a platter section on the menu where you can get a taste of all your favorites. These family style platters range in price from $18 for the vegetarian to $32 for the Lao BBQ platter with chicken wings, Lao grilled steak, Asian ribs, sticky rice and Jeow dipping sauce. The platters give you a traditional Laotian food experience in your own home with different tastes of everything—


including the “must have” sticky rice (à la carte for $2). It also gives you the cultural green light to eat with your hands. For the full experience, I recommend the Jeow flight ($3) of three authentic dipping sauces to pair with the meat, but also to enjoy with just the sticky rice. The three sauces begin with Jeow Bong, a chili paste made with such Laotian ingredients as galangal and fish sauce. Next is Jeow Mak Len, a Laotian version of salsa made with tomatoes, chilies, lime and cilantro. The third is Jeow Som, a sweet and sour sauce perfect for meat skewers and lending a hint of citrus for balance. All were fresh and delicious accompaniments to our meals. The Thai curries, both Panang and Green ($8-$13), are full of vegetables and can be

ordered with meat, tofu, shrimp or vegetables only. They can also be prepared vegan. There are four different fried rice options ($8-$13): The house fried rice with vegetables and egg; fried rice with fragrant Thai sweet basil; yellow curry; and my favorite of the four, the Jeow Bong with a spicy kick from the chili sauce. The noodles and ramen stir frys come with the same protein choices as the rice ($8-$13). Another another highlight is the Tom Yum Ramen, 32 oz of delicious hot and sour broth with ramen noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables and homemade meatballs. Pad Thai, Pad Khing and General Tso’s are among the more familiar items on the menu, along with four desserts. Try the playful egg rolls filled with bananas,

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