Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dinner @ Lers Ros Thai

I was spoiled in many ways by living in Sydney for several months, but one of the tastiest was the Thai food.  I've been on a quest to enjoy Thai food back here in SF ever since, but have failed to find a place that I've really liked.  Do you have any recommendations?

Several months ago, we went to Lers Ros Thai, in the Tenderloin.  I found it pretty mediocre overall, and didn't really remember much about the meal, except that there was one really excellent dish: a whole steamed sea bass.  At $29.95 it was pretty expensive for thai food, but I fell in love with it, particularly the absolutely delicious chili and lime juice based broth.  The dish was light, refreshing, and spicy, all at the same time.  But like I said, everything else was pretty forgettable.  When some friends suggested going back on Sunday night I figured it was worth another try, particularly for the bass.  I went there not really caring about anything else on the menu, I just wanted my bass again!

And ... they didn't have it.  They told us that they usually run out pretty early on weekends since they are open for lunch.  Sigh.

The restaurant is pretty generic, I don't have much to say about it.  Service was good enough.  They take reservations (only over phone) which is nice.  And, uh, you get a nice cultural experience walking there.

The food was, like last time, very mediocre.  I don't think I'll be going back, unless someone can assure me that they have the bass!
Pad See Ew, vegetarian.  $8.95.
We started with the pad see ew.  This is one of my favorite standard thai dishes.  It was not good.

Since we were dining and sharing with a vegetarian, we got the vegetarian version.  It included carrots, cabbage, two types of brocoli, and tofu.  The vegetables were all poorly cooked, mushy, and fairly flavorless.  The tofu was also forgettable.

The noodles were the worst part, way overcooked, very mushy.  The sauce had absolutely no flavor.

I would never order this again, least favorite dish of the night.  $8.95 was a fine price I guess.  It was delivered piping hot, clearly fresh.  Points for that.
Red curry with vegetables and tofu.  $10.95.
Next we moved on to a vegetarian red curry.

Since we were dining with one person who didn't want a lot of spice, we ordered it mild.  Perhaps this is why it had no flavor.  But again, it just had no flavor.  I tried several spoonfuls of the sauce on its own, trying desperately to taste the coconuty deliciousness, but it was nowhere to be found.

The vegetable mix included cabbage, brocoli, carrots, bamboo, thai eggplant, and red bell peppers.  These were even more poorly executed than in the pad see ew, incredibly overcooked and mushy.

The tofu was also really not very good, it didn't taste very fresh.

My tasting notes simply sum this up as "nothing good here".  Second to last dish of the night.  $10.95 seemed way too pricy for this poor quality.

We also had some steamed brown and red rice, $2 per person.  It was an interesting, hearty mix, and fairly well executed.
Pla Trout Tod Nam Pla: Fried quick marinated whole trout in fish sauce and pepper, served with mango sauce.  $16.95.
And our final dish.  They were out of the steamed sea bass, but this was another fish specialty.  We took a gamble on it, knowing it was fried rather than steamed, and wouldn't have the amazing sauce, but ... if they did one whole fish dish well, perhaps this would be good too?

The trout was very, very fried.  The exterior incredibly crisp, which was nice, but it was too oily. The fish itself seemed pretty decent, it was a little fishy, but not bad.  It wasn't very moist however, since it was a fairly thin filet and was so fried.

The mango sauce that went with it was the best part of the dish.  Sweet, with a slight mango flavor.  I enjoyed it with some of the rice.

Best dish of the night, but I wouldn't order again.  $16.95 was a fine price for a whole fish.

We were pretty disappointed at the end of the meal, and opted to go elsewhere for dessert, even though I love mango with sticky rice.  We didn't have any confidence that they'd execute it well.
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