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what NOT to get at Lers Ros Thai

Went for lunch. I can easily say that 3 of the 4 dishes were exceptional. But one was a total disappointment.

The 2 curries were each amazing.
The spinach in a garlic sauce was delightful.

But the grilled chicken with sweet & sour sauce was a dud -- it was warm on the topside, but cold bottom. And tasted as tho it was reheated leftovers from the day before.

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  1. That's unfortunate - sorry to hear it. Though if it was indeed reheated, I'm not sure that it follows that it's something to generally avoid - I mean, without knowing if they regularly end up with leftover grilled chicken, we don't know how relatively likely it is (compared to other hot dishes) that they'll throw it under the heatlamp.

    Anyone else had bad grilled chicken experiences here?

    10 Replies
    1. re: bigwheel042

      My friend got a papaya salad "with grilled chicken", which meant an obscenely large chicken breast smothering up a tiny inedibly spicy salad that tasted mostly of fish sauce. And at under $10, you can be assured they weren't using high-quality ingredients.

      I know I'm deep in the minority on this one, but I've always found Lers Ros to be one of the most overrated restaurants in San Francisco.

      People have this infatuation where the more authentic a restaurant is, the better the food is, whereas there's really not much correlation. I don't doubt that it's the most authentic Thai restaurant in San Francisco, but that doesn't make it the best.

      1. re: vulber

        I wouldn't order the pork liver again.

        I wouldn't order the acacia omelet again, either, it was interesting to try but not worth the price compared with other dishes.

        Probably wouldn't order the pork puff again, it was okay and so was the price but not as exciting as other dishes.

        Last time I was there we had an eel dish that was tasty but a pain to eat due to little bones.

        I don't have any way to judge authenticity of Thai food. "Inauthentic" usually seems to mean "not the way mom made it."

        I just think the cooking at Lers Ros is more sophisticated than at any other Thai place I've been, and I've had very few dishes there I didn't like a lot.

        1. re: vulber

          To address your authenticity question: you would never see a grilled chicken breast perched atop a green papaya salad in Thailand. That's a concession to people wanting a single dish for lunch when they are on their own.

          As for the salad being "inedibly spicy" and tasting of fish sauce, that's pretty much how it is supposed to be. If you don't like spice or fish sauce, you shouldn't be ordering green papaya salad at a place that is remotely authentic. Not every restaurant can be everything to everybody.

          Personally, I find the flavor of the wild boar interesting, but the meat is generally on the tough side. I guess I just prefer pig bred for luscious edible texture rather than wild boar

          Other comments on authenticity: I really didn't see much tofu or chicken in Thailand. There is definitely some tofu to cater to vegetarians, but it was never something I saw friend in a sweet gloppy sauce. Similarly, you might come across a little bit of shredded chicken worked into something, but chickens mainly existed to provide eggs. In city centers with refrigeration, you'll see larb gai (diced chicken mixed with herbs, fish sauce, pungent vegetables), but I don't recall seeing it much as street food or in the countryside.

          So, if I order a curry, I go for beef or pork. Chicken is usually pretty dull.

          1. re: SteveG

            i'm pretty sure i'm supposed to be able to taste the papaya in a papaya salad, which i couldn't because of the spiciness and fish sauce

            1. re: vulber

              Actually, not really. Green papaya has little flavor since it's not ripe. It's there for texture, body, juiciness and crunch.

              Is there a green papaya somewhere else that you prefer to get a handle on your tastes? I tend not to order this except at places that I know will not stint on the chile heat and fish sauce.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Yeah, green papaya doesn't have much flavor, and what flavor it has is nothing like ripe papaya.

                I'm the only person I know who likes the spicy version at Wat Mongkolratanaram. When there with a group I get a spicy and a mild and let people mix to their own taste.

            2. re: SteveG

              Was just in Thailand a month ago and saw chicken all over the streets of Bangkok in skewers on the carts. Had ridiculously tasty chicken thigh and especially chicken butt skewers. That said, chicken was not as ubiquitous as pork in the street stalls and non-touristy restaurants, but it was around. Had some great Thai fried chicken from a street stall after seeing lots of locals ordering it.

              1. re: PekoePeony

                Thanks for the reminder, of course now that you mention it we saw lots of grilled chicken on skewers at street food stands in Bangkok. I guess my perception was skewed by smaller cities in the countryside where we just didn't see much of it. In restaurants, we tended to order curries with pork or beef, since those meats stand up to being braised in the curry much better than chicken, and that style of curry is my preference.

                1. re: PekoePeony

                  There's also lots of barbecued chicken served in the north of Thailand.

                2. re: SteveG

                  I tried the boar yesterday night. While the flavor was good, and I agree the meat was on the tough side, but the "meat" was still edible and not jaw breaking jaw aching tough.

                  The problem is they included what I think is the skin. Now that was tough, like chewing rubber, more chewy that stomach, or tripe. Kind of like uncooked tendon.

                  If they added more boar meat, and cut out what I think is the boar skin, this dish will be much better. Also, the skin and meat, contained alot some fat.

            3. I've ordered Pad Kee Mao with chicken plenty of times, and the chicken is always dry and tough.

              1. I personally found the curries very oily.. and wasn't a fan of that. But there are plenty of other great things on their menu!

                1. Count me down as one who loves the grilled chicken on the lunch menu. I have never had a problem with it.

                  What I don't like is their version of the with basil and chili peppers. It is one of my favorite Thai dishes, so I need to make a special effort just to remember not to order it at Lers Ros.

                  I am also not a fan of their rad nar. I generally don't care for it anywhere, but had read that Lers Ros did an exceptional version of it. True it is better than most, but still not good enough for me to order again.

                  1. I had an appetizer of fried tofu that was tres meh