SANDY — Simply Thai wasn't my Plan A for this week's Dining Out review. It wasn't my Plan B. In fact, it wasn't in my plans at all when my oldest daughter and I set out for a combination mom-daughter date and dinner review.

But after we discovered that our two planned restaurant options were, on the one hand, hosting a private party, and on the other, not open that night, we were driving toward a possible Plan C when we spied the sign for Simply Thai across the street from the South Towne Mall.

"Thai!" my daughter said. "That means mangoes!"

My daughter loves mangoes, whether it's the big bags of dried mangoes we buy at Sam's Club or fresh mangoes from the grocery store. But, most especially, she loves mangoes and sticky rice, which is what Thai food means to her. It also means satay, one of her favorites from any cuisine. So we ate at Simply Thai, a spur-of-the-moment decision that helped us add another reliable dinner spot to our list when we're in that corner of the valley.

The atmosphere at Simply Thai is, well, simple. Strong, basic colors, a few pieces of Thai art, wooden tables unadorned except for a bud vase of fresh flowers. The lighting is on the bright side and the noise level is pleasant.

The food, luckily, has all the lush flavor and varied texture that good Thai should have. Though the menu is not as extensive as at some other Thai spots in the valley, what is there is reliably fresh and well-prepared.

We started with the satay, skewered strips of chicken marinated in coconut-milk curry and grilled to a golden brown. The satay was more spicy than other versions I've had, but not too spicy for my usually spice-averse daughter, who downed three of our six skewers in no time flat, dunking a few bites in the accompanying peanut sauce.

We also had po pia sod, fresh spring rolls filled with soft noodles, shredded chicken, crisp veggies and a halved shrimp. They came with sweet, vinegary spring roll sauce topped with chopped peanuts.

For dinner, my daughter chose the pad preaw wan, the Thai version of sweet and sour. We chose chicken as the meat in the dish, and it arrived stir-fried in a mild, tangy sauce with pineapple, tomatoes, onions, carrots and bell peppers. It's a nice, fresh, more healthful way to enjoy sweet and sour.

We also had gang ka-ree, a stew-like yellow curry with beef, potatoes, onions and carrots in a sauce fragrant with coconut milk and chiles. It was mostly too spicy for my daughter, but for me a Thai meal isn't complete without something fiery.

To go with the rest, we also had kao pad, Thai fried rice, and it was one of my favorite parts of the meal, perfectly fresh, browned-hot and smoky, with sliced pork, onion, carrots, green peas and a little egg.

Then it was time for dessert, and I'm sure it's no shock to learn that we shared an order of mango with sticky rice, a half-dozen thick, juicy slices of mango with warm, sweet rice drizzled with a glossy sheen of coconut milk.

Appetizers $5.95-$6.95, soup and salad $3.95-$12.95, rice and noodles $8.95-$9.95, entrees $6.95-$12.95, lunch combos $6.99, dessert $3.50-$4.95.

Rating: ***

Where: 37 W. 10600 South, Sandy

Hours: Lunch: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.

Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.

Closed Sunday

Payment: Checks, major credit cards accepted

Phone: 307-1221

Wheelchair access: Easy


Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com