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Lunch at Lemongrass at Aria -July 12th, 2107

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  • Lunch at Lemongrass at Aria -July 12th, 2107

    This was our return to the restaurant that was my Restaurant of the Year in 2015.

    It's been 18 months since the last would this visit stack up?

    Lemongrass is unique—it was the first Thai restaurant on the Strip when it opened in 2010. And it's a peaceful, beautiful room, adorned with a variety of dark wooden tables and chairs, a wall of shiny, creamy green stone, and intricate woven-rope installations overhead. It's the kind of place I'd rather not write about—so I can keep it to myself.

    At Lemongrass, you can receive a superior experience just sticking to the classics from your favorite neighborhood Thai joint (wonderful chicken Tom kha soup, spicy and smooth green curry, the mint-versus-chili nirvana that fuels Yam Nuea Yang grilled beef salad). Or you can branch out into some worthy Pan-Asian experimentation (there is Vietnamese pho, wonton and Szechuan beef noodle soups, and garlic and lime steamed cod with chili and mint). There are four pricy lobster and crab preparations, including yellow curry with Dungeness crab, but the rest of the menu is affordable.

    Chicken satay isn't Thai but it sure is good, with creamy peanut sauce, cucumber salad and grilled bread. This was one of our appetizers.

    Other interesting appetizers include two simple, earthy dishes: braised bamboo shoots marinated in garlic and soy, and lightly fried abalone mushrooms. Clean-tasting vegetables are a perfect complement to the bold, spicy flavors associated with Thai cooking. Along with that great grilled-beef salad, there is Yam Poo Nim, soft-shell crab with mango and cashews, or the seafood-laden Yam Ta Krai, with spicy lemongrass salad and a tamarind dressing. Som Tam spicy papaya salad packs a lot of heat, but there are too many other more adventurous dishes to rest with just this one.

    The curry dishes are well-balanced — and well above average. The kitchen seems to have a subtle, refreshing touch with almost everything. The simple and delicious home-style tofu has large chunks of carrot, mushroom, bamboo shoot and pea pods intermingling with the absorbent tofu in a light, slightly garlicky sauce.

    Main courses are generally light, with the Ribeye steak providing the most bulk.

    Our server was Catherine and she was very nice.

    I didn't see any changes in the menu since our last visit, which was somewhat of a surprise.

    In addition to Chicken Satay mentioned above, we also ordered Spicy Asian Cucumber. Cucumber, chili-garlic, vinegar, sesame oil.

    A great perk to ordering food at Lemongrass is you get to pick the degree of spice of your dish. Chose a level between one & 10. We chose a 3 for the cucumber dish.

    I didn't think it was possible to improve on the taste of this gem from the last vist but it was improved. The degree of spice was perfect!

    The next appetizer was Crispy chicken wings, Thai style & sweet chili sauce. Just one word, AMAZING!
    They were perfect. Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. Loved the sweet chili sauce.

    We each ordered one entree that we were going to share.

    The first was DAN DAN NOODLES/ Mandarin noodles, minced pork, peanuts, scallions, chili oil, sesame paste.
    We substituted chicken for the pork. Neither of us liked this dish. Not sure what we were tasting but it the flavors were off.

    We asked if we could swittch this dish for PHAD THAI with Chicken/ Stir-fried rice noodles, fried tofu, egg, tamarind sauce, bean sprout, chives.

    Good choice as this dish was outstanding.

    We also chose RIB-EYE STEAK WITH TAMARIND SAUCE/ Grilled rib-eye, carrots, onions, asparagus, coconut rice, tamarind sauce.
    This was the dish that vaulted Lemongrass to the #1 position as Restaurant of the Year.

    Was it as good as the last time? Not quite but still very good. I remember it having a lot more veggies and the Coconut rice, which is spectacular
    being in a seperate bowl. The steak was cooked perfectly.

    Dessert was a first for both of us. Sticky rice dumpling served with warm coconut milk. Dorene gave me a "A" for trying it. It was OK but I just had a few spoonfulls.

    Not quite as good as our original visit but still a very enjoyable lunch.

    There are a lot of great selections on the menu. I highly recommend Lemongrass.

    DIM SUM MENU Available 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    SIGNATURE TASTING MENU $59 Per Person - 4 courses.
    EARLY EVENING MENU Available 4:00p.m.- 7:00p.m. $39 per Person
    11:00 AM - 2:00 AM