Posts Tagged ‘Bistro’

Recently, we visited a few places that I had previously visited, enjoyed and reviewed, but, I think that most restaurants deserve a second visit, don’t you?  I like to see if my first impressions of places hold true to the second visit…

Kesone Thai Lao Bistro

Pad Thai with Chicken

Shortly after redeeming our first LivingSocial voucher for Kesone Thai Lao Bistro, I got an opportunity to purchase another one.  Since both my husband and I enjoyed the place, I jumped at this opportunity … I mean, hey, it’s Thai food!  This time around, I definitely wanted Pad Thai, mostly because I knew my husband had planned on amplifying the heat on his Pad Thai plate, and while I do enjoy the spicy, I wanted to enjoy it a little less spicy than he desired.

With this visit, I noticed that again, our appetizers were brought out at the same time as our entrees.  Again, this is not a complaint, because the food was brought out so quickly it wasn’t as if we were waiting very long at all for anything.

This time, we selected the appetizer sampler plate ($9), which included three different appetizers – two summer rolls, six golden bags and two chicken sa-tay.  I found the chicken sa-tay to be somewhat dry, but the golden bags were crispy and delicious, and I loved the fresh crunch of the summer rolls.  I have been wanting a good summer roll for a while now – I mean, sure, I love the crispy, golden-fried deliciousness of a spring roll, but, there is something about that fresh, minty taste of a summer roll that really brightens the palate.

The Pad Thai was just as delicious as I remember.  The chicken was cooked nicely – a little dry, perhaps, but not to the point of being overly chewy.  And really, when it comes to Pad Thai, it really is less about the chicken for me and more about the noodles.  I love the delicious rice noodles that have been coated with the spicy sauce, the crunchy texture from the bean sprouts and the crushed peanuts… Pad Thai really is a culinary delight.

Will we be returning to Kesone Thai Lao Bistro – YOU BET!

GRILLED CHEESE GRILL

Photo from Grilled Cheese Grill website, click on the pic to go there.

We’ve actually been to Grilled Cheese Grill a couple of times since my last review.  What can I say, I love a good grilled cheese sandwich, and I really like how the folks at Grilled Cheese Grill take a good thing (the classic grilled cheese) and push the envelope with it!

Case and point would be my newest favorite sandwiches from GCG:  The Jalapeño Popper ($5.75)!  Oh. My. Goodness.  This sandwich is GOOD!  Spicy, yes.  Be ready with something refreshing to cool the palate.

The sandwich is made with freshly roasted jalapeños (not the jarred stuff), colby jack cheese, cream cheese and corn tortilla chips sandwiched between two pieces of sourdough bread and grilled to golden perfection.  I ordered mine with bacon (add $1.75), because, what doesn’t taste better with bacon, right?  This sandwich is absolutely incredible.

I think that the GCG prepares the jalapeños themselves, because I didn’t notice any of the seeds or membranes of the pepper in my sandwich.  This helped to reduce the heat a little in my sandwich, and thus allowed some of the fruit notes of the pepper to emerge.  It was still HOT, make no mistake, but it wasn’t too hot.

The colby jack is melted and gives a nice, chewy texture to the sandwich.  The cream cheese is a little on the light side, but, I don’t think more cream cheese would have made this a better sandwich.  As it was, the cream cheese added a little bit of sweetness and curbed the heat of the jalapeño just enough.  The tortilla chips did not add any real crunch to the sandwich (although the crispy, grilled outer crust of the sandwich certainly did!) but it did add a nice dimension of flavor, and really added to that “popper” kind of taste as promised with the name of the sandwich.  The bacon … well, let’s just say that without the bacon, this sandwich was delicious.  But WITH the bacon, this sandwich becomes insanely irresistible, absolutely memorable, and completely crave-able.  I really, really liked this sandwich, and I’ll definitely order it again sometime.

On another visit, I ordered the Southsider ($5.75), which is artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms with mozzarella on sourdough bread.  This sandwich is also really outstanding, tasting a bit like a gourmet pizza in sandwich form.

The artichoke hearts were pickled and added a tangy flavor to the sandwich from the pickling, while the sundried tomatoes gave this a delicious base flavor … although, if I had been putting the sandwich together myself, I think I would have added more tomatoes (but then, I love sundried tomatoes).  The mushrooms I think would have been a little better if they were thicker cut, but they still added a nice, earthy flavor and pleasing texture to the sandwich.  This sandwich was very filling and satisfying, and one I’d recommend if you’re really hungry.  This one filled me up.

Will we be visiting Grilled Cheese Grill again – ABSOLUTELY!  It’s become my favorite cart in Portland … although, I admit that I’ve not visited many carts YET!

I’ll be reviewing a couple of “revisits” again soon … specifically, the Burger Bungalow and Soi 9 Thai Eatery.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Thai food.  I don’t know that its my favorite ethnic cuisine, but, it certainly ranks within the top three.  And that love for Thai food revolves pretty much around one dish:  Pad Thai.  I’ve tried a few other Thai dishes that I really enjoyed, mostly noodle dishes with a gravy, but, it’s been years since that time and I really do not recall what they were called.  I’ve tried to find those on Thai restaurant menus to no avail, as nothing really seams familiar.  That being said, I still prefer Pad Thai to those other dishes.  However, I did want to expand my experience of Thai cuisine so with the gentle urging of my husband, I did just that with this visit to Kesone Thai Lao Bistro, another Living Social restaurant find . . .

Pad Thai with Chicken

Location:  2600 NE Sandy Boulevard in Portland, Oregon

Order:  for an appetizer, my husband and I shared an order of Crispy Spring Rolls.  My husband ordered the Pad Thai with Chicken ($7.50) while I tried the Pad King with Chicken ($7.50).  And of course, I had to have a Thai Iced Tea!

What I Think: 

This small restaurant was empty when we arrived (with the exception of one guest who was waiting for a to-go order), then again, we arrived just before they close for the afternoon (they close between the hours of 3 pm and 4 pm to prepare for their dinner service).  Had I read their website a bit more carefully I would have noticed this and been a bit more observant to their closing time.

The decor of the restaurant is nothing fancy but the tables were clean and I felt at ease with my surroundings.  The service was fast (which probably had something to do with the fact that we were the only guests to be served).  I was very pleased by the size of the Thai Iced Tea – it was quite large!  Unfortunately, the tea tasted slightly watered down.  The black tea had notes of bitterness to it, which suggested that perhaps the tea had been steeped too long.  It was still drinkable, but, not the most enjoyable Thai Iced Tea I’ve had.

Spring Rolls

Our Spring Rolls arrived at the same time our entrees arrived.  In most cases, I prefer my appetizer to arrive a little before the entrees, however, the food arrived so quickly that it wasn’t as though we were waiting for either dish.  The Spring Rolls were a little dark in color (looking as though they might have been cooked just a bit too long), but they didn’t taste burnt.  They were crispy and delicious.  I especially enjoyed the sauce which was pungent with garlic with a nice balance of sweet and sour.

My husband and I shared our entrees.  The Pad Thai was ordered with a heat level of 2 – 3 (the server asked on a scale of 1 – 5 how spicy he would like it to be), and in my opinion, it was a pleasant amount of heat, although my husband said he would have liked it a tad spicier, and next time he will probably order it at a level 3 – 4 instead.  The chicken was tender, and I enjoyed the ratio of noodle to sauce.  The sauce did not taste too fishy nor smell too fishy, which made me happy.  It was certainly a tasty Pad Thai, and while it isn’t my favorite Pad Thai of Portland, it was my husband’s favorite of the ones we have tried thus far.

Pad King with Chicken

The Pad King was a bit of an adventure for me, as I had not tried it before.  The onions were nicely caramelized and the rice was cooked perfectly.  The sauce of this dish was very flavorful; however, it had a flavor that I think would have been more complementary to beef rather than chicken, as it had a very substantial, almost beefy sort of flavor to it.  The sauce seemed to overwhelm the chicken, and if I were to order this dish sometime in the future I would definitely order it as a beef dish, and that is how I’d recommend ordering it.

My favorite part of this dish were the mushrooms, which lent a nice texture and delicious flavor to the dish and it is because of their somewhat woody flavor that I suspect beef would have been a better meat choice for this dish (tofu would also make a nice choice).  The green beans had a slightly rubbery texture, and I didn’t find this to be too appealing.  Overall, I found the dish to be agreeable, but I think I would have been happier if I had chosen the Pad Thai.

My Final Thoughts:

While I wasn’t totally pleased with my Pad King, I am happy that I was willing to step outside of my comfort zone and try something a little different.  The flavors were definitely there in each of these dishes, and overall, I enjoyed my visit to Kesone Thai Lao Bistro, and we will no doubt be returning at some point.  Mostly, I was just happy to be eating Thai food again!

Kesone Thai Lao Bistro on Urbanspoon