Cheap Eats 2007: Satay Sarinah
Comments () | Published July 11, 2007
Satay Sarinah
Address: 512-A South Van Dorn St. , Alexandria, VA 22304
Phone: 703-370-4313
Neighborhood: Alexandria
Cuisines: Malaysian/Indonesian
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Saturday 11:30 to 3. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday 5 to 10. Open for lunch and dinner Sunday noon to 9.
Nearby Metro Stops: Van Dorn St.
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Potato croquettes with beef and vegetables; sweet-corn cakes with scallions; lamb satay; fried chicken; spicy beef stew; pickled vegetables; chocolate/avocado smoothie; fried banana with vanilla ice cream.
Indonesian cooking is unfamiliar to most Americans, one of the few Asian cuisines that has yet to cross over. This well-kept restaurant—the region’s best representative of the cuisine—has been on the scene since the mid-’80s, but eight years ago the owners shuttered the original Sarinah Satay House of Georgetown and decamped to an Alexandria strip mall.

The multipage menu will seem both familiar (curries, satays) and exotic (belinjo nut crackers, shrimp chips). The temptation is to order the rijsttafel, the five-course feast with the Dutch-sounding name and the Texas sense of scale. The dishes span the menu but are prone to unevenness. Better to put together your own spread. Try the sweet corn cakes called bakwan jagung; a Bogor-style batter-fried chicken; a coconut-milk-spiked chicken soup; an assertively spicy lamb curry; the fried rice called nasi goreng jawa studded with shrimp and bits of egg; and a beef satay, a standout with its roasted-coriander-seed rub and crackling edges.

The shrimp chips­? Called krupuk, they look like pink, misshapen rice cakes, and they’re utterly addictive.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 02:04 PM/ET, 07/11/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews