Dirt Cheap Eats 2009: Satay Sarinah

No matter what you order at this humble Indonesian cafe, it’ll feel like a feast when it arrives at the table. Oversize portions and hearty cooking that uses only halal meats (those slaughtered according to Muslim law) make this place perfect for a cheap date or an inexpensive way to feed a family.

Start with fried potato croquettes stuffed with beef and vegetables ($3.95), sweet-corn cakes with scallions ($5), and expertly grilled satay ($10)—especially the lamb. Skip the stir-fried egg noodles ($9.95) and go for the perfectly fried chicken ($10) or the hot and spicy beef stew ($12.95) spiked with a lemongrass-and-turmeric sauce. A side of pickled vegetables ($3) cuts through the richness of the dishes. If there’s room for dessert, try the refreshing chocolate-avocado smoothie ($4) or the fried banana with vanilla ice cream ($5), a comforting end to a comforting meal.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.