The last three weeks we have eaten more carbs than we probably should so we decided to try this Vietnamese Restaurant a friend had told us about. It was a good move. They offer typical dishes but their execution is unique.
All of their $6.99 lunch specials come with soup and a spring roll.
The soup and roll were excellent. The broth was rich and comforting and the roll was crisp and bright. In my experience it usually gets a peanut sauce but with this one I got a sweet chile sauce.
I was interested in noodles so I opted for stir fry pork with rice noodles.
This was a very simple and straightforward dish. It didn’t have any discernible sauce. It was simply fried pork loaded with rice noodles spiked with a bit of carrot and cilantro. I really enjoyed it and I would eat it again.
They have a nice sized menu with great prices. Most of their prices are in the $7 to $10 so it is economical. Factor in the portion size and you have a bargain. Also they have salt and pepper shakers on the table. You have to ask for soy.
There is a fancy new Thai place on Mass. Ave. It’s a good-looking place with a clever name and better than average food. The offer several lunch specials for $8.99. Each one comes with soup, salad and a spring roll.
The soup is a nice broth with just a hint of spice. I could eat a couple of bowls of it. Minimal ingredients but the broth is the hook.
I ordered the Cashew Nut with pork. This is a stir fry dish loaded with peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts as well as cashews.
It was a huge plate full of food. The sauce was a simple brown gravy that matched up well with the pork and mushrooms. The small side of salad added just the right amount of crunch. As for the spring roll it was one of the best I have had and it wasn’t made in-house. It was full of cabbage with a delightful flaky skin. I would eat them again with gusto.
I hope this joint lasts longer than the previous inhabitant. I think it fits in well with the area.
One thing about Broad Ripple,vacant buildings don’t stay vacant for long. I would consider Chiang Mai’s new home prime real estate. Of course I know nothing about real estate I just think that this is a great location. It is a free-standing building with parking, across from the canal. It also has a nice new outdoor patio. Alas no water view. But they do have sake.
I like Thai food and I especially like noodles. This joint is the closest Thai place to me so I expect more trips. Since it is so new there hasn’t been very many reviews. The ones I have seen have all been complimentary. The only one half way negative was the fellow lamenting the lack of a lunch menu. Even he liked the food he just didn’t like the dinner portion or price at lunch time. That has since been changed. They offer $7.95 lunch specials,like so many Asian restaurants offer. Soup, salad and spring roll in addition to the main meal. Once again I ask, rhetorically, how can they do this? However they handle it I am glad they do.
The soup was a very mild broth with,as you can see a few tiny bits of veg. It was okay but nothing really spectacular. As I have mentioned before I love Asian style noodles; especially rice noodles. So I fell back to my default Pad Thai. All of the specials offer choice of chicken,pork, beef, tofu or veggies. For a $2 up charge you can get shrimp. Feeling luxurious I opted for the shrimp.
I think you can see from the picture one way they are able to sell a 8 buck lunch and be profitable. The salad is a small 4 ounce portion and the spring roll was on the small side and didn’t really taste house made. Not a complaint,just an observation. Both the salad and the roll provided a nice textural element to the dish. As far as the Pad Thai goes it was very nice. An abundance of noodles with a bit of veggies and peanuts and that ubiquitous Thai sauce. It was a delicious dish well worth going back for.
I think what Pat was referring to about the pricing was the dinner entre pricing. However I didn’t think they were that outrageous. The dinner prices were predominately $10.95 and up to 12 to 14 dollars. I really don’t think that is too outrageous for a dinner. As a matter of fact the next time I go I am doing dinner. I figure that a $10.95 Pad Thai would have more of the stuff that makes me liked it in the beginning. I am glad that the old Mid Town Grill has a new tenant and I hope that their stay there is long and pleasurable for everyone.
Pat and I have eaten here in the pre-blog days. Then it was about one-third the size and was located on Lafayette Road. I am really glad that their business grew enough that they needed to expand. Like most Asian inspired restaurants they offer several lunch specials for $6.95 and $7.95. Each lunch comes with a choice of soup and a soft spring roll or crisp egg roll. The soups they offered were a mushroom and a crab meat asparagus soup.
Pat was a bit nonplussed with the sauce he was served with his egg roll. Instead of the thick orange-colored sweet and sour normally served, this sauce was thin and clear. It was basically a sweetened vinegar;which I actually thought better than the normal orange stuff.
The last time we ate here I remember the crab soup and spring roll very well. I thought them both delicious. So that is what I decided on to go with an order of shrimp and vegetables.
I acknowledge that nothing stays the same. Such is the way of nature. However in the world of food and beverage some things should stay the same. I refer to the Crab and Asparagus soup. The last time it was crisp and clear with pieces of crab meat and slices of asparagus with bits of herb on top. This was a gelatinous cup of chicken stock with a few pieces of asparagus. No discernible crab at all. That is not to say it was a horrid soup,it wasn’t horrid at all. It was an excellent chicken stock it just wasn’t a good crab? and asparagus soup. It would make a great chicken and noodle soup,or a chicken and rice soup or a chicken and anything soup. Just not a crab and asparagus soup.
As for the spring roll I was disappointed in that as well. The flavor and texture were not as I remember. Nor was this roll as fresh tasting as others I have had else where.
As for my shrimp dish it was very good. Nicely prepared with the obligatory vegetables in the customary sauce and a big scoop of perfectly steamed white rice. Since I live closer to this joint than Pat I can see myself coming back. However I would give the mushroom soup and egg roll more consideration or else forego the lunch specials altogether and order from the menu. Speaking of which here is a link to their website.
Last week after lunch we stopped at a little bar on West 16th street for a beer. There we met Dawn who told us about this joint. She was very excited about the place,so we had to check it out. The place is pretty small. It is located in a small commercial space next to same sort of movie rental place. According to Nellie, the owner that generates a bit of business for here. People order food and then go get a movie. Sounds like a plan to me. We had a nice talk with Nellie after lunch. She is a very charming woman. Knowledgeable and cordial. And she is comfortable with her own food so she is more than happy to suggest other Thai food spots.
They have the menu on the wall, which is always convenient. They also have selected items as $4.95 lunch specials. We decided on the big board menu. First we ordered a vegetable spring roll for $3.95 and deep-fried tofu for $4.95.
The Spring roll was huge. Even cutting it in half gave us 2 pieces easily 5 inches long. Possibly because it was so long but it didn’t seem to be wrapped as tightly as others I have tried. Of course that in no way detracted from the taste and the freshness of the roll. It was very nice and the sauce served with it was outstanding. A sauce like this is served with a lot of rolls I have tried,however this seem to be a cut or two above the others.
I am not a big fan of tofu. I must admit that I enjoy cooking with it though. I liked the creaminess of the inside, it just had very little flavor of it’s own. But it was a nice contrast of texture.
Pat was more concise today than normal. I know he is a big fan of fried tofu, since it is a common item on his house menus. I just don’t have the requisite knowledge to compare the 2 different textures. So now I am curious about the difference.
I was compelled by the pineapple and bell pepper listed in the ingredients of the Pad Prew Waan. It is a type of sweet and sour using a sweet chile as a sweetening agent. It was good. A great array of texture,with a spicy sweetness that slowly increases in heat that you have a nice buzz on the tongue. And it came with white rice.
What a splendid lunch for $8.95. Of course the tomatoes were your typical winter variety, not fully ripe. This didn’t really effect the overall dish, just an observation.
So now all the folks on the West side can get their Thai fix. And at an excellent place,too. So Nellie thanks again for the food and good luck to you.
For all you grammarians out there Naisa is Asian, spelled backwards. Cute. When Pat suggested Naisa for lunch I was more dis-interested than excited. Not because I have any issue with Asian food it just seems more than not the food revolves around a central theme. Veggies chopped up, mixed with a protein in an oyster sauce and served with steamed or fried rice. How ever I was soon reminded that not all vegetables are cooked the same.
The place is not very big. Its biggest decor feature is its modesty and simplicity. The menu is on the small side and features lunch specials in the $7 to $9 range. Each special came with rice choice and soup choice, or you could sub egg or spring roll for the soup.
I opted for Chicken with peanuts with Sweet and Sour soup with fried rice. We were served complementary wonton chips with both duck sauce and mustard for dipping. Both sauces were pretty good. Although the mustard was not the sinus clearing hot I expect.
The soup was excellent. Full of vegetables and with a lovely broth. I would have been happy with just a big bowl and nothing else. It also helped that the weather was rainy and chilly.
The main dish was where this particular joints unique personality came through. The chicken and sauce were no strangers to my tongue, nor were the veggies unusual. Baby corn, celery, carrot and red bell pepper. The thing that impressed Pat and me both was the freshness and quality of the cooking. The vegetables had a snap and crunch to them and they still retained their natural sweetness. I think that it is cooking like this that makes eating even more fun.
So, there you have it. A cozy dining room, good prices and excellent cooking. And last but not at all least excellent service. Our server was on top of everything. Attentive and gracious, a great combination.
Well there won’t be a post for last week as my cohort left town for a bit;and lunch alone is not that much fun.So I intend to mention some of the places we’ve been to in the past.Don’t expect too much detail because my memory is rotten.However I do remember if I liked it or not.And after all that’s what this blog’s all about.Two guy’s opinion,we have no intention of trashing any joint;much less a mom&pop venture.We view a meal as a pass fail sort of thing you like it or you don’t.If we eat at a place we truly dislike we won’t even mention it.Kind of like your weird uncle,you accept the fact he’s around and some people like him you just don’t want to bring it up.Well enough B.S.If you dig home-made soup go to the Great Divide,on New York.I think their signature is the Loaded Potato Soup;full of all those artery clogging goodies that people crave.It’s delicious and a little fat is good.If you want a dive that allows you to walk without sticking to the floor then check out the Lockerbie Pub on Michigan.In addition to the usual bar food they offer plate lunches.If you get a chance get a turkey Manhattan,get one at lunch and you’re good until breakfast.And they have Sun King on draft.If you get over to Shadeland Ave. check out Tie-Dyed Cafe;they have a great rep and an almost cult like following.Pat and I thought the food was pretty good, nothing out standing;but you should decide for yourself.I mean can a cult like following be wrong? On the west side Mann’s Grill is a must visit.It’s on Washington and Tibbs and it is the epitome of diner food.Homemade food,huge portions and cheap.If you’re an early riser Mann’s serves breakfast and they are legendary.While you’re on the west side schlep up to 30th and Lafayette road to the Saigon Cafe. They have a 6$ lunch special that includes your choice entre (one of maybe 50 )steamed rice ;egg roll or spring roll and soup.When you go try the asparagus crab soup,it is great.While on the south side namely South Meridian stop at Berrengers a really old place with a tremendous back bar.They offer real deal old school ,scratch made tavern food.I’m sure folks that are hip to the real deal know about Berrengers if you’re not hip then I suggest you get hip.If you’re still on the south side try LaMargaritas,I think it’s on south 31,but I’m not sure.OH I just remembered it used to be called Jose Frogs.No matter they offer a very good burrito and I think the best refritoes I’ve had since I left New Mex.And ,surprise, they build a very tasty margarita.So that’s all I can remember for now.We’ll have a more current posting next time,I’m pretty sure.