We haven’t had a Thai restaurant in San Leandro since we’ve lived in this city, so it was with much anticipation that we awaited the opening of Thai Satay, at the old Strizzi’s location. We were a tad apprehensive, as Mike has gone several times to the Thai Satay in San Mateo (same owners) and the pad thai is always clumpy and not very good (and yet he keeps going). It’s true that he always goes after the lunch rush, but that’s no excuse for clumpy pad thai.
We got there around 7 PM and the place was packed, which tells you how much in need of good restaurants San Leandro is (if you’re a restauranteur thinking about San Leandro, there is a place in the Marina that the city wants to develop into a restaurant, serve good food at approachable prices and I guarantee you your place will be packed). We were given a table for four at the entrance of the smaller room that should be replaced with a smaller table, as it was the waiters kept squeezing in by my husband when the went by. The place is not much change since it was Strizzi’s a couple of weeks ago. They don’t seem to have repainted and the carpets are still those dark green and pink flowered ones that were there before, but they’ve added some Thai looking wood panneling to the walls, a few framed Thai pictures, the obligatory portraits of the king and queen and a wooden Thai-framed bus station. The whole thing really doesn’t work well together, but it could be worse.
Thai Satay’s menu is just like that of its sibling restaurant in San Mateo. Indeed, the menus we were handed had the San Mateo address in print. Its quite extensive with 83 items, though most of its focus is on seafood. It only has four each pork and beef entrees. While it features many of the most commonplace Thai dishes, I was surprised to see that it didn’t include panang curries or pra-ram chicken (the chicken with peanut sauce served on a bed of Spinach), two of our favorite dishes. I’ve written to the owner to ask why that’s the case. Appetizers are $6-7 and main dishes $9-13, a little too steep for Thai food but then again, this is San Leandro. Rice is $1 pp and sodas $1.75, expensive considering that there are no refills.
Mike and I split an appetizer of chicken satay (see picture). The skewers were pretty small and I thought the chicken was chewy and not flaky enough, it also wasn’t very tasty. The sauce was OK, too runny for my taste and served in a tiny portion. I don’t think I’d order it again.
The massamun nuer ($9) was much better. The beef was very tender and there was a good proportion of potatoes to meat. The sauce was darker and spicier than most massamuns I’ve had, but it was rather nice and I enjoyed it very much. I’d order it again.
The bar-b-que pork ($9) was quite tasty, both by itself and with the sweet & sour sauce it was served with. The slices were a bit tough, but that’s a common problem with pork, bbq chicken or beef may be a better bet. Still, we quite enjoyed it.
The dessert list is very limited (fried bananas, ice cream, tapioca, sticky rice) and we didn’t have any as I wanted to get to the library before they closed, I’ll probably try the fried bananas next time.
We’ll certainly be going again, though I’ll wait a few weeks before I write a “proper” review of the place. For being opening night I think they did quite well.