Nan Thai Fine Dining Experience
What is Nan?
Nan is a fine dining establishment in downtown Atlanta, GA. When I say fine dining, I mean this is a restaurant that requires you to dress well and offers valet service upon arrival. My boyfriend surprised me with a dinner reservation for my birthday a couple of years ago. We weren't sure what to expect, since we don't generally frequent places that require reservations. We were running late the night we were scheduled to have dinner, so we called to ask if we could move the time forward an hour. The man on the phone was very pleasant and efficient in changing our reservation.
On arrival, a valet and a door greeter swept us out of our car and into the restaurant. A woman inside took our coats and stored them by the door, while we were led to our seats in the center of the restaurant.
Our hostess pulled out our chairs for us, and then she stepped back and bowed. She left, and I sat there feeling extremely awkward because another human being had bowed to me. I understand it's a cultural difference, and she meant it as a sign of respect, but I still didn't feel comfortable with it.
Our tables contained wine and appetizer menus in the form of fancy books. The most expensive wines were exceedingly expensive, and in the end, I chose a single mixed drink. I guess I'm not classy enough (or rich enough) for the wine, and I don't really dig large amounts of alcohol anyway.
The appetizer menu contains several delectable sounding options including Satay (grilled chicken and beef on bamboo skewers served with peanut sauce and cucumber salad), Pla Muk Thod (crispy calamari with three flavored chili sauce), Poh Pia (vegetarian steamed basil rolls and crispy tamarind spring rolls), and Kung Thod (stuffed fried shrimp with tamarind sauce). We chose Nan's Tasting Tree which included an assortment of the chef's personally selected appetizers.
Meanwhile, the hostess continued her extremely polite behavior on each return to the table, and she bowed each time she left. A man from the kitchen brought our appetizers on a layered tray, which contained several different appetizers and sauces.
The Main Course
As my main course, I had Gang Klua Pad Lad Pla Salmon, which was an extremely delicious dish of grilled Atlantic salmon on pumpkin red curry rice topped with crispy flakes of salmon with kaffir lime, dry roasted red curry, and green beans. The fish melted delicately in my mouth, and the combination of flavors was so unique and memorable. This dish alone was priced at $26 USD, and obviously it was worth it, since I thoroughly enjoyed it. Our total bill was over $100 with the appetizer, main courses, and a single drink each.
The chef, Nan, was born in Bankok, Thailand, where her mother was a street vendor. Nan moved to New York at the age of 19, where she worked for fine dining establishments and hotels. Nan's first personally established restaurant was in Manhattan. She moved to Atlanta with her family in 1997, and she serves her unique dishes through two restaurants: Nan Thai Fine Dining and Tamarind Thai Cuisine.
I highly recommend Nan Thai Fine Dining if you're looking for a fancy dining experience.