Mekong Thai (Santa Rosa)
This is the little Thai place next to Pamposh (Mission & Highway 12). I can't remember why I didn't try it earlier... but I really dig this place. After disappointing Thai at the place on Mendocino (near Chanate).... and the one by Whole Foods (on Yulupa)... this is the closest it quality to the Thai places around L.A. I also liked that its a very family run operation, and they barely speak any English, very humble & nice (is this place under new ownership... because I could swear these aren't the same people I remember).
> Green Papaya Salad... this was actually bleh... this dish rarely gets on L.A. menus so I've only had it twice and been very disappointed... it sounds so exotic with its unripe papaya, dried shrimp, cilantro etc., but both version have just been sweet & simplistic... I much prefer Larb or sliced beef & mint salads.
> Chicken Mint.... this was good... chicken wasn't as tender as I would like it to be... but I think that goes with the territory.. its all white meat chicken.. cooked in slices... but ah when you get bites of the mint leaves... delicious.
> Green Curry.... this was just excellent... the curry was outstanding, rich, coconuty with chicken, mint & thai green chile flavor throughout plus perfectly cooked zucchini, peas & carrots... and a bit more tender white meat chicken.
> Mango & Sticky Rice.... it was a bit sweet for my taste, the rice really lacked coconut flavor, and it was too light on sesame seeds... but the mango was perfect.... and I gobbled it all up.
Overall prices are in line with the area (salads around $7, entrees around $10), quality is close to family run L.A. Thai places, the cooking is generally a bit sweeter than I am used to or desire (but I think that is what the locals like) and I think this place has become my go to Thai.
Eat Nopal, I'm glad I found your post-- we tried this place tonight and were very happy. We had beef larb, or larp? If that doesn't wake up your taste buds, nothing will. Following advice here, I got the duck in green curry, and it was rich and complex tasting as described. My SO got shrimp and green beans in a garlicky sauce that was great.
The portions were larger than I had expected, so if we hadn't been greedy we could have gotten out of there for $20 apiece.
Enjoyed trying about a dozen dishes here tonight.
We tried the shrimp rolls, fresh salad rolls, coconut soup (aka tom kha gai- but described as coconut soup on their menu), papaya salad, spicy seafood salad, chicken mint, green curry chicken, pad eggplant with tofu, Mongolian beef, Mekong mixed seafood, pineapple fried rice with pork, pad thai with shrimp.
Everything we tried was freshly made, and the service was quick and friendly. The portions were very generous. I thought the quality was much better than most Thai or Laotian restaurants I've visited, and I'd definitely return for the chicken mint and seafood salad if I was in the Santa Rosa area again. I thought the zucchini was a nice touch in their green curry, and I was happy to see they were generous with the vegetables in many of their meat and seafood dishes.
12 different dishes (2 starters, 2 salads, 2 orders of soup, 1 rice, 1 noodle and 5 main dishes) was more than enough for 7 people- I'm guessing 8-9 dishes total would have been plenty, but I'm glad we got a chance to try so many things. The prices are reasonable.
I'm really glad Eat_Nopal mentioned the Chicken Mint- it's a dish I haven't noticed in Thai or Laotian restaurant before.
I have had a number of good Mekong meals since my August report....
> Their Green Curry is easily my 2nd favorite Thai dish in Sonoma County (only behind the Duck & Pumpkin dish at the Thai place across from Omelette Express)... the combination of Cocunut Milk, Green Chiles & Thai Basil is just mesmorizing.
> I just tried the Chicken Satay for the first time (I rarely order this)... its better than average among my Thai experiences whether in Sonoma County, L.A. or NY
> The Pad J (Vegetables & Tofu in Brown Sauce) is solid... the baby really digs the Tofu... I couldn't be more appreciative.
> I had taken this for granted... but Mekong offers brown rice... which is somewhat rare in Northern California.
The current Laotian owners (they have had it for about half a year) seem to have settled into a good rhythm and the cooking seems to be getting better as they go.
I made the fatal mistake once of doing a crawl of Thai restaurants by comparing green papaya salad. Like you said, it sounds more interesting than it is ... though some people went on about how delicious a well done papaya salad was. After a half dozen boring versions, it wasn't worth the search. The best and most different was at Ruen Pair in Albany.
Thai Mekong Restaurant
52 Mission Cir Ste 111, Santa Rosa, CA 95409
I liked this place also. Next time, try their Angel Wings if you dine in - crispy and tasty. I don't remember all the dishes I had, but I think they are a good, solid choice for your average weekday meal. I heard that they changed ownership early this year. The family who runs it is very nice.
Try to check out Sea Thai Bistro in Montgomery Village. Their Green Papaya Salad is delicious. The dressing is excellent - sweet, sour and just enough kick. But my favorite part of Sea Thai is their vegetables. They are so fresh and crisp - not overcooked at all, and with lots of variety. Make sure you get dessert while you're there! I read that they have their ice cream made for them. The pinot noir sorbet and coconut ice cream were delicious - rich, not overly sweet and flavorful.