Thai One On

Those who think of salad as just another side order will have to reconsider their opinion after sampling the Thai eggplant salad at Thai Gourmet [6324 Richmond Avenue, (713)780-7955]. This colorful dish features generous portions of lightly grilled, slightly sweet eggplant. Add to that chunks of chicken, a half-dozen shrimp, coriander leaves, and green and red onion, and you have a full-blown meal. The opaque red sauce that floats at the bottom of the plate is a delicious combination of fresh lime juice and fish sauce, the whole punctuated by red pepper flakes. The delightful combination of flavors and sensations -- salty, sweet, hot and sour -- is ideal for those days when your taste buds feel like Thai-ing one on.

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Carol Rust