Latitude Eight vs. Flo's Kitchen: Baby, Please Satay With Me!
Satay is my go-to dish at any Thai or Pan-Asian restaurant. Made with chunks of chicken or beef broiled in spices and served with the crack of condiments -- peanut sauce -- it's a dish everyone from picky five-year-old Susie to granny will adore. Yes, I am a peanut sauce addict, but I've been going through nutty detox lately in hopes of further shrinking my waistline.
I made an exception to check out the satay at two heavy hitters: the modern, independently owned Flo's Asian Kitchen in North Scottsdale and Latitude Eight, a classy Thai grill in a historic district.
In One Corner: Flo's Asian Kitchen
16495 N. Scottsdale Rd. # 5B-2 in Scottsdale
|Satay S.O.S. -- This plating wreck needs some serious rescue.|
Located in a snazzy North Scottsdale strip mall, Flo's Asian Kitchen is a bright, sleek eatery with contemporary furnishings, a separate bar area and Asian calligraphy prints on the walls. Flo's dining room is painted a dark red, which is supposed to get your blood rushing and stimulate the salivary glands.
My dining companion and I weren't starving when we came in, but by the time we ordered the hunger pangs had begun. Not because of the red walls, but due to the heavenly smells wafting from Flo's kitchen.
Feeling hungry yet?
We each grabbed a skewer and bit into the meat, only to be surprised by a burst of traditional spices including curry and nutmeg.
"Either I'm really starving or this is incredible," quipped my friend. "It's sweet, but not too sugary, which is hard to get with peanut sauce."
The thick, white meat chicken was tender and perfectly cooked, with a slight char on the outside that made the skin crisp and held in the spices. It was delicious. The peanut sauce was savory, with a nice salty finish and a sweetness comparable to the crust of a creme brulee.
I purposefully downed a couple of chicken bites that didn't have any sauce, just to see if the meat could stand on its own. I was rewarded with spicy, juicy meat that could work just as well served sans sauce atop flavored rice or noodles.
We didn't know what to expect from an Asian restaurant sharing a name with the smart-ass waitress from Mel's Diner, but... well, kiss my grits, the grub was good.