Monday, January 6, 2014

A Taste of Thailand – Maryville Tennessee

When Karen and Charlie called us and suggested that we all go out to dinner with them at a nearby Thai restaurant, we were all for it!  We like Thai food…  Here in East Tennessee, we’d previously sampled Thai food at Surin of Thailand, Little Bangkok and another restaurant in Knoxville named Lemon Grass…

But this time it was the Lemon Grass Restaurant in Maryville Tennessee… In addition to Thai cuisine, this restaurant also has a sushi bar.  For some reason, sushi is very popular in the greater Knoxville area…with many restaurants featuring sushi as part of their menu.

Lemon Grass in Maryville isn’t a large restaurant, but its ambience is simple and tasteful.  Note the table settings… The white table cloths and cloth napkins definitely provide a bit of an upscale feel.    

Decorations are minimal but eye-catching.  From the outside of Lemon Grass, you wouldn’t expect such a warm and cozy interior.  I really thought that it might be more Spartan than it was…

For her appetizer, Laurie ordered the Fresh Basil Rolls. ($4.59) They included Gulf shrimp, vermicelli rice noodles green lettuce and fresh basil leaves, wrapped in streamed rice paper and served with plum sauce.  Laurie loves appetizers like this one…wrapped in rice paper providing a nice light starter with the basil waking up all of her taste buds & mine too!  Thumbs up!

The menu at Lemon Grass is shorter than in many Asian restaurants.  For example there are only 9 appetizers listed… I would guess that Laurie will try the Cheese Rolls the next time we dine here. ($3.79) These sound a lot like Crab Rangoon, one of her favorites, with crab meat, cream cheese, and carrots wrapped in rice paper then served with Tamarind sauce.

I guess that part of the attraction was the name of my appetizer…Sarong Shrimp. ($6.59) This eye candy of an appetizer consisted of shrimp stuffed with Thai herbs and then wrapped in rice paper and deep fried to form these nifty cones. The appetizer was served with sweet chili sauce.  I really enjoyed my selection and Laurie loved it too!

I was also attracted to two other appetizers… One was the Chicken Satay, ($6.99, with sliced, skewered, and then grilled white meat chicken breast marinated in curry and coconut cream then served with peanut sauce and cucumber salad.  The other choice was the Lemon Grass Golden Cups, ($6.59), edible crispy golden cups filled with minced gulf shrimps, chicken, and sweet corn and peas.

For her entree, Laurie ordered the Panang Curry…with a bit of extra heat. ($11.59) She chose chicken over beef or pork in a sweet curry paste with basil leaves and a touch of coconut milk.  This dish normally comes with bell peppers but she had them leave the peppers out. 

Laurie loves curry…and there are 8 additional curry dishes on the menu.  They range from Spicy Red and Green Curries ($11.59) to Jumbo Shrimp Masaman and Scallops in a chu-chee curry cream sauce. ($16.99)
Note: All entrees are served with Jasmine Rice.  For an extra $1.50, diners can order brown rice if they prefer.

Karen and Charlie are not into spicy foods, but they’d been to Lemon Grass before and they knew what they wanted!  They shared both of their entrees… Their first entrée was the Walnut Shrimp, ($14.99), large shrimp with honey, plum sugar, mayonnaise, and walnut.  They really like this dish!

Other entrees that aren’t noted for their heat…just their flavor…included Masaman-Kai, ($11.99), tender white meat chicken in masaman curry with pearl onions, green avocado, and cashew nuts; Broccoli with Mushrooms, ($10.29), chicken, beef, or pork sautéed in brown oyster sauce; Jumbo Shrimp Masaman,  ($16.99), masaman curry with green avocado and roasted cashew nuts, and; Tuna Tataki, ($17.99), seared sushi-grade tuna in Japanese ponzu sauce with a side of baby spinach.

Charlie and Karen also shared Cashew Nut. ($10.99) Chicken, pork, beef or tofu can be specified for the same price.  This dish came with chicken sautéed with roasted cashew nuts, onions, squash, zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms.  They both enjoyed this dish as well!

Other than the Entrees and the Lemon Grass Chef’s Specials, the menu includes 5 traditional salad offerings, 6 different soups and 5 different Thai Noodle or Fried Rice dishes. (Including Pad Thai $10.99) There are also 2 vegetarian dishes available…

My entrée, (extra heat requested!), was the Spicy Basil Leaves. ($10.99) I chose beef vs. chicken or pork.  The beef was sautéed with fresh basil leaves, garlic and Thai chili sauce.  The dish normally comes with bell peppers…but I don’t care for bell peppers.  The chef got the spice level just about right, with just enough heat to make my head sweat a little…

Spice levels range from 1 chili pepper or mild, (stimulates a ‘kick’ to your lips and tongue), on up to 4 chili peppers or “Thai Hot”, (Can you take it? For addicts and Thai nationals) 

Since it was Laurie’s birthday, the restaurant brought out this luscious dessert for us all to share. (There was a candle in the middle of the ice cream) This is Fried Bananas with Ice Cream, normally $4.50.  The pieces of banana are enclosed in the little fried wraps…with sesame seeds, cinnamon and honey drizzled over the top. Excellent! 

Even though we had a dessert to share, this one sounded good too and I ordered it!  This is Phay Robi…I think this is how you spell it. ($4.50) This crepe includes condensed milk, powdered sugar, honey and it has blackberry compote over the top.  It was very nice…almost as good as the Fried Banana offering!

To our susrprise...Charlie and Karen picked up the tab for this delicious meal!
A happy birthday gift to Laurie and myself! :)   Thank you Charlie and Karen! We enjoyed the company and your generiousity.  On us next time!

Service was competent, the restaurant is clean and the food was very good indeed!   However, for those diners who expect huge amounts of food when you order an entrees in a Thai or Chinese restaurant, the portions at Lemon Grass are a bit more reasonable.  You’ll have plenty of food but you probably won’t be taking any home…

Lemon Grass - Thai Cuisine and Sushi bar, is located at 912 West Lamar Alexander Highway, (US 321), in Maryville Tennessee.  If you're headed to Smoky Mountain National Park from I-75, you'll pass right by this restaurant. Phone: 865-681-8785.  To learn more about this restaurant, you can go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a taste of Thai food!  

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Looks like a bunch of fine food Dave and a good way to celebrate Laurie's BD. We've eaten at Lemon Grass a couple of times over the years and always enjoyed it.

  2. A wonderful birthday for Laurie. Happy Birthday Laurie.

    I love the choice for Laurie's appetizer.
    This restaurant looks like one that I would love to try.
    All of the choices seem very good. I would like the extra heat too. It really is fun.
    Blessings, Catherine

  3. Dave,
    It's nice to know that you can find good Thai food in TN. My husband and I live in the western burbs of Chicago and are contemplating moving to Eastern TN. We have friends that live in Tellico Village and Sevierville. We have to sell our home first:) Maybe wll will be neighbors one day:)

  4. Sounds like you had a good time with friends and enjoyed your Thai dinners... I love Chinese food---but don't think I've had an Thai--or if I have, I don't remember. One thing I know: I do not like Sushi.... My oldest son has always BEGGED me to try it--but I just can't.... I did eat a raw oyster once (with a cracker and mustard). Just swallowed it whole... ha ha


  5. I can’t believe the size of that mall in Edmonton! With swimming too! I really liked your mother’s Christmas card – it has a lot of feeling in it.

    That Thai restaurant looks good. We also went to a Thai restaurant when we visited our daughter in Brentwood for Christmas. We went to a Thai restaurant in Franklin, I think it was. It is a very popular one as my daughter said it is always full of eager patrons. My husband had the masaman curry and I had something with shrimp – don’t remember the name. My daughter Jessica, like you, orders with “extra heat” but I can only use the “average” heat….