Would we go back:
8600 Edinburgh Centre Dr
• Sai Oua E-sane Fresh homemade-style sausage filled with ground pork, chopped lemon grass and other flavorful spices $4.95 (shared)
• Fresh Steamed Rolls Fresh steamed rice flour rolls, filled with ground pork, black mushrooms and onions $3.95 (shared)
• Green Curry w/ tofu Coconut milk, green curry paste, zucchini, peas, and basil $7.95
Lemon Grass Thai is a jewel in a Brooklyn Park strip mall. I know you may think jewel is an odd word to use to describe a restaurant, but I used gem last week in my review of Aribel's and I was honestly reminded of jewels throughout the meal.
The sausages were amazing I should have stopped on my way out and asked if they sold them uncooked for the home cook. But luckily we had plenty left over and I brought them home to use later in the week. The steamed rolls were a bit unusual, but were amazing. It was like a casing of egg roll wrapper steamed instead of deep fried so you could see the jewels of meat and veggies shining through. My green curry really was one of the best dishes I have had ever. And again the peas and zucchini looked like shiny jewels in the rich green curry. It was amazing.
While Lemon Grass is really not in our neighborhood it turns out it is between our house and my sister's house so I have not doubt that on my way from visiting her and her new baby I will be stopping in a few times. But this is the kind of place that is worth a bit of drive to get to, it really is that good.
• Spicy Fried Rice w/ shrimp Sliced oriental sausage with basil, scallion, chili, garlic, and eggs $8.95
Wow. Lemon Grass Thai is among the best Thai in the Twin Cities. Drive past a wasteland of fast food joints to Thai nirvana at Lemon Grass Thai in Brooklyn Park. You’ll be glad you did.
Lemon Grass Thai is located in an unassuming strip mall location next to an Asian supermarket (that’s proven to be a good sign lately –Dong Yang and King’s Korean come to mind). The lot is spacious and the restaurant was not crowded at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night. This is normally not a good sign, but we’ve hit two in a row now where it has not been busy but the food has been fantastic. The appointments are normal strip-mall Asian décor, with a flat screen television playing music videos when we were there.
The staff is vivacious, more than happy to answer questions. They also promote some Thai cooking classes in Saint Paul . We overheard one of the staff saying that the techniques are meant to bring good Asian cooking into the home without being overly complicated. They try to make the classes at a basic level. After tasting their food, the classes are all the more intriguing.
The homemade sausage, sai oua e-sane, was a spicy sausage cut into one inch sections served at room temperature with shredded carrots on a piece of lettuce. The dipping sauce on the side was a little spicy, but did not add much overall. The sausage itself was a sweet concoction like I’ve never tasted. The first bite was awkward; tasting a strange sweet flavor in sausage is not all that common, and it has been a while. All in all, we saved about half of the order to take home for later to use in another dinner.
The fresh steamed rolls are not for everyone. The outside wrapping takes getting used to because they are thicker and the texture is gummier than most spring rolls. I enjoyed them after the first one, although I was skeptical. The filling in the rolls was fresh and delicious.
The spicy fried rice was not spicy hot (as ordered after the server asked), but I understand how that could be lost in translation. Additionally, the chili oil on the table is more than sufficient to add kick if you find the dish too mild. As for the dish itself, this is the best fried rice I can remember. The secret must be the sliced oriental sausage – I see a theme here. However, the basil, scallion, chili, and garlic are balanced well in this dish. The shrimp were outstanding.
The food at Lemon Grass Thai is gourmet on a budget. Even with the high price of gas, you can afford to visit and enjoy some of the best Thai around.
April 19, 2008