The New Lemongrass (SEA)
- ssusu Dec 14, 2006 07:00 PM
I delayed trying the new Lemongrass (below Seven Stars Pepper Szechuan) because I was underwhelmed by the first restaurant on 12th and Jefferson, but last week I went and thought the new restaurant was at least as good as Green Leaf, if not better. (I'll have to go back and try their Banh Xeo for the definitive test.) In particular, the Bun Bo Xue, a spicy, fragrant beef noodle soup was outstanding. This restaurant received a very favorable review from the PI - http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/food/22... - any other thoughts or impressions?
I have always thought lemongrass is the most underrated vietnamese resturant in seattle. Their mango salad is amazing.
i do like their rice-paper wrapped (deep fried) spring rolls, and their banh xeo. salty plum/lemon drink of course.
Just had a great meal there (our third or fourth). The yellow rice noodles were delicious, the beef stew with noodles was sublime. We also had an unusual appetizer type thing called a rice cake - 10 little dishes, each with a steamed rice pancake and topped with shrimp, peanuts, onion, with a bowl of chili fish sauce to season. I agree that it deserves as much attention as greenleaf.
After the wait at Tamarind Tree became unmanageable last night, I tried Lemongrass (1207 S. Jackson, #106), amidst apprehensions from a rumor I'd heard that chef changes had diminished it. I was looking out for what I'd read in the P-I were Central Vietnamese specialties. Along these lines, I was impressed by the Mi Quang, a soup of yellow broth and egg noddles with fish balls, shrimp, and crackling rice crackers. Drop in some jalepenos, anise-scented holy basil, and sliced banana blossom and a squeeze of lime. Also enjoyed the banh beo chen, tiny rice cakes topped with ground shrimp, fried onion, scallions and fish sauce. Mango salad was well done, but a bit sweet for my taste--I prefer mine more sour a la som tam. The bun combo was also well done. In sum, just a notch or two behind the excellent green leaf or tamarind tree for a vietnamese dinner, and a bit cheaper (plus less busy).
This may be slightly off topic, but there seems to be a lot of hype about Green Leaf's Banh Xeo on food msg boards... Pehaps it's just me, but as someone who grew up eating this dish pretty frequently, I think it's just alright, but really not all that great (not to say anything about Green Leaf in general).
Does anybody agree/disagree?
I don't have tons of experience with Bahn Xeo. I've maybe had it at 5 different places (TT being one of them). Of the 5, Green Leaf's is my favorite because of the quality and quantity of the fillings, the coconuty and crispy-ness of the crepe. I'd love to try it at more places. What is your favorite and what do you look for in good Bahn Xeo?
My favorite spot happens to be the new lemongrass. I have only had it there, Green Leaf and Saigon Bistro. The green leaf version is smaller and last time was borderline burnt. Then again, perhaps that is the way it is supposed to be. The lemongrass' version is big and light and perhaps a little more airy. Random question: I found a recipe for this on recipe bizaar or zar or something and it says that a serving of bahn xeo has 32 grams of fat. How could that be? The cooking oil and coconut milk??? This is a great food regardless of where you get it, but would like to here a more authentic interpretation of what makes it good.
I had a late lunch yesterday at 1207 S Jackson. This restaurant might have a very odd name, "The Lemongrass" is a sort of tropical take on "The Spinach" as a name. But the restaurant doesn't have very odd food. It seems to have good food.
My only dish was cơm tấm đạc biẹt, or broken rice with shredded pork, grilled pork, egg cake (a well-filled omelet with bean threads and pork shreds), grilled shrimp cake on a piece of sugar cane, and ample vegetables.
The rice was somewhat casually broken, so the pieces were half- or third grains of medium-grain rice. Some places break the rice so it is as fine as fine couscous. I think I like the texture better when the rice particle are smaller. But when you are miffed at the size of the rice bits, the food must be good overall.
The grilled pork was thick pieces of boneless pork chop, and not terribly flavorful either from the charcoal or from general pigginess. The shredded pork and the omelet were much more flavorful, and the shrimp paste cake, which looked like a plump mushroom cap on the piece of peeled sugar cane, particularly pleased me. (I think this is called chả tôm.)
Notably, the fresh cucumbers and the mildly pickled carrots, plus ample bits of scallion, gave the whole dish a lot of textural vigor and some nice flavors. Cơm tấm is really a multi-course meal on one plate, and I noticed halfway through that I hadn't even added any chillies yet.
I'll go back. I've eaten at a couple of the places in that shopping center, and The Lemongrass strikes me as the downstairs pick for a quiet date or just a peaceful lunch. And it's not bad to walk away from a fairly upscale, toothsome meal for $10, including tip.