Not A Chipotle Off the Old Block, or, What I Ate: Papaya St. Grill
When I heard a handful of people comparing Papaya St. Grill in Dublin to Chipotle (but done Southeast Asian style), not only was I less than thrilled to check the place out, but frankly I thought “Who gives a flying pho?”
I mean Chipotle—and its legions of unoriginal copycats—have clearly tapped into an obviously successful and certainly zeitgeist-y business model, but though self-designed, trough-accessorized, inexpensive meals can provide quick and functional lunches, they’re hardly anything to get exercised over, right?
But still more highly positive Papaya buzz continued to leak out to me. Then one afternoon, a good pal of mine texted me that he was loving him some Papaya Grill, and I needed to get up to speed on this place. Well, not only was that guy right, but I soon learned that all those Chipotle comparisons were overstated. See, not only does PSG have plenty of actual menu items, but it’s also got a chef (who used to captain the fine Thai Taste on Kenny Road).
Here’s a peek
PSG’s refreshing—if very not spicy— take on the papaya salad straddles the culinary line between the preferred Vietnamese style (with mint and cilantro) and a more Thai style (with tomato)
This was the one Chipotle-esque order we ate. It was made by choosing: a (brown rice) “Bowl” —which came with simply but pleasant-enough steamed veggies; one of about a dozen ready-to-go sauces—we went with the aggressively bright (in a good way) lemongrass; and a protein—in our case it was very nicely fried tofu (warm, crispy outside, but creamy inside). This big bowl of health was a thumbs up, but…
…not nearly as memorable as this “Hawaiian Seoul” sandwich…or…
…this knockout dessert—“Roti with condensed milk” and “Ube” ice cream (ube’s a purple tuber beloved by Filipinos)
Expect more in an upcoming Alive