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Jun 18, 2007 04:54 PM

Chang Thai Bistro (in old Sweet Garlic location, Monrovia)

We were very sad to see Sweet Garlic leave Old Town Monrovia a couple of months ago. We decided to venture there last night to see if anything had replaced it yet.

Chang Thai Bistro (same owners as Chandra on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena) opened for the first time last night & there were certainly some "opening night jitters" and mis-steps that need to be worked out before we would consider going there again.

First off we received the wrong least the server noticed it before we ate too much of it since it contained dairy & hubby is lactose intolerant (the cream cheese was pretty much non-existant in the Crab Rangoon, so hopefully the table that ended up receiving it wasn't disappointed either). We weren't thrilled with the appetizer we did order for ourselves (Golden Triangles). The texture of the crab & shrimp filling seemed overprocessed (almost mushy).

Next came the Chang Greens salad. There were several clumps of molded lettuce (as from the bottom of a large bag of pre-mixed salad) that we had to pick around. At least the peanut dressing was good.

Hubby ordered the Sizzling Beef. It came with a side of grilled pineapple which was inedible since it absorbed the flavors of whatever was cooked on the grill plate before his dish. The beef itself was seasoned only lightly with cracked black pepper & the 2 sauces (sweet & sour + spicy sauce) did nothing to improve the bland taste.

My pad see ew (forgive the spelling) was good, but not extraordinary.

The owner came by to check on things at the end of the meal & we described the problems we had encountered. As a gesture of goodwill, we received some watermelon sorbet on the house. The watermelon sorbet was mostly chopped ice & the watermelon flavor itself was too sweet rather than refreshing.

Hopefully things improve with time...though we would love to find out if Sweet Garlic has indeed moved to Pasadena so we can enjoy their cooking once again.

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    1. I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

      My girlfriend and I were here last night for dinner before walking up to the Krikorian for a movie.

      We both found the food to be very much on par with Chandra here in Pasadena. We started with the "Naked Shrimp" salad, which was about 6 grilled shrimp on a bed of very fresh greens w/ a light and spicy Thai dressing. We really enjoyed this dish. We then split an order of Pad Thai with chicken and Green Curry Rice with Chicken. Bother of these dishes were very good - seemingly no different that what we get at most Thai places.

      The service was very friendly. Our only slight complaint was that the order seemed to take longer that it should have to arrive.

      All in all, I would definitely say this is one of the better Thai places in the Monrovia area.

      1. As for Thai food, I love Rad-na (or Rad-nar), the wide rice noodles, gravy, beef, and broccoli dish. Of course I had to try it here. Unfortunately the beef was rendered inedible by the so-called "marinating" and it had a texture like beef liver. It was nasty. Fortunately they made it right by immediately making a side of chicken for me.

        Another thing to note: Beware of the hanging bamboo columns at the entrance. I'm an architecture student who has worked with natural bamboo before, and I was wondering how they could have mounted the tubes in such a precarious way. Sure enough, before my lunch was over, some guest had managed to knock one down and cause a loud crash -- hopefully nobody was hurt (they're 6-8' long poles!). I hope they fixed/removed them.

        Overall, 4/5.