Khoom Lanna (Santa Rosa)
We had dinner at this Thai restaurant on 4th Street in Railroad Square... the Mint Leaves dish was fairly dissappointing... flavor & the chewy texture of the cheap Chuck....
BUT the Roasted Duck with Honey Squash is awesome... while its more subtle than most Thai dishes without the intriguing spice & herb combinations we all love about Thai... the rich roasted duck, perfect squash & light brown suace make even the plain, blanched Spinach edible. This dish could be served - without skipping a beat - on any of the finer restaurants in the Northbay.... $17 (Actually Monti's could take some pointers from Khoom Lanna on how to cook a bird).
We went here for Valentine's Day dinner. I can't say I'm eager to go back. Service was slow and indifferent; we were there for two hours, waiting a long time for a clear table (there were four or five tables empty, but it took 15 minutes and three inquiries to get one cleared), a long time to haver our order taken, and then a long time between courses. That included a ten-minute wait between getting the curry and getting the rice to go with it. They were steadily busy, but I've seen a smaller staff handle as many people more effectively.
Thai is our tradition on this holiday, and we used to have a favorite restaurant that did a terrific couple's special. We keep looking for a comparable place; this isn't it. We made the mistake of ordering the special menu -- $39 per person, and I'm sure we'd have gotten as good or better food for a lot less from the regular menu. The appetizer (mussels in coconut-chili-basil sauce), soup (hot and sour lemongrass) and salad (mixed greens with peanut dressing) were all fine, but tiny portions and pretty basic. We had a choice of entrée, prawns in red curry or something with scallops, along with "fruit-filled fried rice." We asked if we could have a small portion of each entrée; apparently the answer was no, because we were only served a bowl of the prawn red curry. Too bad, because if we'd been told we had to choose one, it would have been the scallops. The prawns were overcooked and chewy, and there were canned pineapple rings in the curry along with the veggies. The rice had raisins and dried apricots in it, which was different and interesting. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't worth what we paid. Dessert was a choice of tapioca, coconut Jello (!) or sticky rice with ice cream -- again we had to pick one to share, but the portion wasn't much more than I'd expect in a serving for one. The sticky rice came with a scoop of coconut ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry. We also got a 175 ml. bottle of Korbel champagne with our dinner -- my partner ordered a beer, so I got the "whole bottle" to myself.
Disappointing, overall; $90 plus tip for two of us, and we've had better food and service for a lot less than that at other local places. I understand that the problem may mostly be the holiday, and we might find better service, value and quality if we went on a different evening. We might do that sometime, if I can talk my DP into it. He's not inclined to give them another chance, when we've got other options for Thai cuisine.
Tried this place again recently....heard they changed ownership recently.....food really improved......i'm impressed with the new menu items like the goodie bags, lettuce wrap, pineapple fried rice that had brown rice instead of white rice.......had massaman lamb the other day cuz it's on the Specials Menu.....loved it even without ordering rice trying to cut down my carbs consumption! Will go back to try more good stuff!
Finally had a chance to check this place out last night with Freiheit. Nice to have another decent restaurant open on a Monday night. (:
Started with a Thai iced tea, which was tasty. We decided to try the Salmon Rolls ($12.50ish) (from the special "monthly" menu) as an appetizer. The dish arrived quickly, cigar-shaped fried rice paper (I think) rolls with bits of salmon and spinach inside, with a creamy wasabi sauce drizzled around the plate for dipping. I was really disappointed with this dish. It was pretty bland and badly in need of seasoning (was wishing we had some salt or nuoc nam or some of that thai sweet-sour liquid that is usually in the cucumber-onion salad to dip). The wasabi sauce didn't really compliment the dish, I thought. The ONLY slightly good thing about them was that they were fried nicely...the wrapper was flakey, crispy and not too oily.
Luckily, dinner did not disappoint. I ordered (based on EatNopal's rec.) the Roasted Duck with Honey Squash, $17.50ish (off of the special monthly menu, again). Delicious! The roasted duck was rich and perfectly moist, served over a bed of spinach and cabbage, with half moons of bright orange squash, and broccoli and carrots on the side. There was a light drizzle of a delicate and light honey dressing/sauce over the duck as well. I was not expecting the dish to be as delicate and subtle as it was. Duck can be pretty heavy and overpowering, but not this time...the light honey flavours came through. The combination of duck, squash and some of the spinach sang together harmoniously in my mouth. YUM. I was very pleasantly surprised with my portion size as well. Normally, with a duck dish, I'm used to a small amount of duck with a larger portion of whatever it is being served with. What I received at Khoom was a large portion of duck (I guesstimate about two cups worth) over a smaller portion of the spinach and cabbage, and four half-moon, not too thin slices of squash. Freiheit ordered the Tamarind Fish off of the regular menu. I will let him review his experience himself, but I got the impression that he enjoyed his dish (and the fact that Khoom offers sticky rice as one of the rice options, as this seems to be a rarity around here) although it wasn't quite what he was expecting.
I made sure to leave room for dessert, as I can't resist fried bananas and coconut ice cream and I saw it on the menu. Very glad I left room. The plate arrived with six large pieces of perfectly fried banana chunks on skewers, surrounding a generous scoop of tasty coconut ice cream, and drizzled with honey. The breading on the bananas was light and crispy, not oily at all, and still warm. The ice cream, although not made there (I asked, and although the server didn't know where it came from, he did say they didn't make it there) was yummy. Creamy, with nice bits of shredded coconut throughout. No ice crystals (yay!), which I sometimes get when I order coconut ice cream at inferior spots.
Except for the unremarkable appetizer, I was happy with my dining experience. Hope to return again soon and try the Masaman Curry that Kare raves about. Mmmmm...curry. *Insert Homer Simpson Drool here* :P
107 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Thai ice coffee: too sweet, I thought. Not enough of that strong almost-espresso taste. Might be to some people's taste, and was still a pleasant enough beverage that helped cut the spiciness of the other dishes. I missed the strong coffee flavor I was hoping for, though.
Salmon rolls (off the specials menu): boring. The salmon didn't have much salmon flavor; I'm guessing a combination of farmed fish and steaming. Totally agree that they needed something.
Tamarind fish: good. The description made me expect a tamarind sauce of some sort on top; something sweet and sour, basically. It was actually steamed fish with an array of different veggies. Pleasantly spicy, chunks of ginger, various veggies, a couple different kinds of mushroom.
I'd noticed on the menu that they had jasmine rice, brown rice and sticky rice available. Sticky rice is very traditional, but rarely on the menu as anything other than a dessert, so I ordered some. Would've been better if I'd gotten it with something grilled or BBQed, so that I could've used hunks of the sticky rice to pick up my entree. Still, a nice alternative to the other rices. Showed up in a special basket.
Service: good. The waiter was friendly and helpful. Food arrived quickly. It was kind of a slow day, so that might've helped.
Overall a decent Thai restaurant, but nothing to go out of my way for. With their convenient railroad-square location I'm sure I'll be back again.
EN et al,
If you are in the Larkfield area, or make a special trip there (well worth it), I very much enjoy Baan Thai in Larkfield Shopping Center. If you click on my screen name you'll see I've posted about it before. It's been consistently very good since it opened, and often it's great. One of the chefs used to work at the Thai place on 4th Street (the one of the second floor of the building), but I like Baan Thai much more.
I've especially enjoyed the pumpkin and Musamen curries, all of the salads I've had (the green papaya and the shrimp and grapefruit are among my favorites, along with one that has minced chicken in a fresh-tasting lime sauce), the duck spring roll starter (fresh wrap, not fried), and many noodle dishes. The grilled trout is excellent. The fried rice is fabulous. It's very, very light and fragrant.
All of the food is light, subtle, fragrant, and totally satisfying at the same time. They also have a wonderful pumpkin and sticky rice dessert.
I also really like the young couple that run the room, the son and nephew of the chefs, and his girlfriend. They are very low key and friendly.
Failed to report on a dinner here.
Their Mussaman curry is extraordinary here -- order this! Just skip their Jungle curry which is an unforgiving, dreadfully too spicy (& me likes spicy) mess that dulls taste buds.
Fellow dinner ordered the pinapple fried rice with pork - which I kind of laughed at (a la hawaiian pizza) but I found myself stealing as much as I could. Probably one of the best fried rice dishes in the city I have encoutered thus far.
It seems really dumb to me however that rice does not come with the 12 dollar curries - the whole point is the rice.
I ordered a fish dish a few months ago here and also shared an appetizer sampler with friends. I'm not sure I remember correctly because it was a pretty unremarkable meal, but if I do, the sampler had a wide variety of bites that were all average at best. The fish dish was considerably better with a very fresh tasting fish surrounded with a lot of vegetables that didn't particularly add to the fish itself but tasted fine. I think it might have been within its first month of opening so of course, things could have very well changed dramatically since then, but I remember thinking as I left that I didn't really have a need to return to it.