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Sab-E-Lee dishes I should order?

going to the Linda Vista location soon with a friend. I haven't been in a while and would love any favorite suggestions.

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  1. Drunken Noodles. Tom Yum and Tom Kha soups. Spicy Fried Rice w/beef. Penang Curry.

    I started eating there just a year ago and I haven't explored the menu enough to feel like I really know the place yet. I order spice level 3 for hot dishes, or 2 if I'm with my girlfriend. 3 seems like a good balance of heat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SteveRB

      Thanks! Last time I was there a #5 hotness killed me. I'll go 3.

    2. Somtum (papaya salad), panang curry, and chicken larb are my stand-bys. They have a Volcano Fish dish at the one in Santee that I really like, but I don't think it's on the menu at the original location.

      1. Raw Beef. It's not raw.

        1. I have an almost constant craving for the Pork Larb. I really enjoy the Green Papaya Salad, the Raw Beef Salad and Steamed Pork Leg with Rice. My wife loves their soups and the Kai Kua. Love that place!

          1. Our standby dishes are the salty fish fried rice, duck larb, spicy raw beef, red curry, and pork leg with spicy basil sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zare_k

              salty fish fried rice
              shrimp larb
              tom kha

            2. Overlooked but really good: their fried chicken.

              +1 on papaya salad, at least at a 5 level.


              Pad se ewe.

              Some sticky rice.


              1. I usually get the Papaya salad along with a few entrees. The bamboo shoot salad is good but often too spicy (and I love hot foods).

                I am a big fan of the drunken noodles and the pork leg with mint (thai basil). I had the charbroiled pork (Nahm Tok) last week and wasn't thrilled with it.

                1. Lunch there today. OUTSTANDING. As good as I remember and my asian food savvy friend was impressed. Papaya Salad, Tom Kha, Curry Panang, Spring Rolls, Thai Ice Tea. Next time Drunken Noodles for sure, Raw Beef, Salty Fish, and all the other things yall are recommending. A Definite San Diego treasure.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pickypicky

                    good to hear. Anyone have the Tilapia dish the last few months? Been curious about that.

                  2. After reading this discussion I tried this place the other night. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to order any of the Isan dishes, so it wasn't as great as it could have been.

                    Red curry with tofu was the best dish we ordered....a 4 spicy level had a good amount of heat, and the pieces of eggplant in the curry were super soft, as if they had been pre-cooked a bit before being added to the curry. Also contained lots of bamboo shoots, and the serving was large.

                    Fried egg rolls were pretty standard, fresh spring rolls weren't that good (too much lettuce and sort of bulky, with a few plain tasting shrimp)

                    Crab noodles were a bit too dry, sort of like a crab pad thai but dryer and with less flavor. I was hoping for something with a bit more of a sauce, though this dish might always be dry.

                    Saw lots of nice looking food on other tables, and prices were very reasonable, so I hope to go back at some point.

                    Dave MP

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Dave MP

                      My favorites include

                      bamboo shoot salad (spice level 3, I usually order level 5 but find that salads are typically too spicy at level 5, possibly because the lime makes it taste spicier)

                      duck larb

                      grilled pork neck

                      napa cabbage soup

                      Can't wait to go back.

                    2. I just went for the first time. Boy is it a small place. We arrived a bit before noon. Good thing as the line became rather long. I had Panang Curry level 4 spicey. Perfection. I saw many very interesting dishes on the other tables. I would go back more often if I could generally make it that before noon. Great prices too, of course.

                      1. Bumping this (didn't know which one to bump as most of them are dormant by at least two years)

                        Anyone still going to Sab-e-Lee linda vista occasionally? Haven't been in awhile (last two times we went it seemed to be run and operated by high school students and everything was just kind of a mess). Thinking of picking up some dinner there this week and wondering what is still recommended these days.

                        Also wondering if anyone has had the raw beef dish lately...is it pretty much just beef and onions? If so I will pass..not a fan of the Onion Tartare style with a few bits of beef thrown in.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: MrKrispy

                          I got take-out from there last month. It was, flavor-wise, quite good. OTOH, their spice level regulation was way off (or maybe it's inverted).

                          I usually (over the last several years) order a 7 or 8 when eating there, get a skeptical look, and get served something less spicy than my companions that get 4s.

                          This time, I asked for all 2s (in deference to my wife and kids) and every dish was hotter than I've had at the restaurant. Have I been doing it wrong and 1 is the hottest?

                          1. re: The Office Goat

                            funny you mentioned that because the last time we went I had asked for mild for all our entrees (they asked if we wanted it mild or spicy, and a '8' at Sab e Lee is like a 15 at other places so I said mild). All of them were eye watering spicy except the panang curry.

                            1. re: The Office Goat

                              No, 10 is the hottest there.

                              The thing about the spice level at Sab-E-Lee is that they have to really believe you if you ask for a high number. I go enough that they recognize me, so when I ask for a 10 I get a 10. But if they don't recognize you, they'll ask if you've been there before, etc., and even then you'll really have to emphasize that you're used to hot food and you mean what you asked for -- if you really want it hot.

                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                But this time I ordered over the phone and they nuked us at "2" -- at work we can order from Lotus Thai at night, and their scale is mild, medium and hot. The Lotus Thai "hot" papaya salad is "pretty hot," but no hotter than the SEL papaya salad at "2" -- I suspect that the base SEL papaya salad is what it is (and made in advance to marinate?), and doesn't have as wide a variable heat range.

                                1. re: The Office Goat

                                  The Papaya salad at SEL seems to be just "hot" or "hotter". I love it but I wish I could get a medium spice level on it.

                            2. re: MrKrispy

                              I get over to Sab-e-Lee at least once a month. Service has been pretty attentive and speedy when I've gone -- no high school students in sight -- and the food is as good as ever.

                              I especially like their red and panang curries, the tom yum and tom ka soups, their papaya salad and larb, and pad thai. The Thai sausage fried rice is good once in a while, even though there's not much sausage in it. These may not be the most interesting things on their menu, but they're the ones I like best.

                              Drinks are inexpensive and I frequently get Thai ice tea, which is very good.

                              1. re: MrKrispy

                                I visit San Diego twice a year, in spring and fall, each time for about a month. I go to Sab 2 or 3 times each visit. I have never been disappointed. As mentioned above, I love

                                bamboo shoot salad
                                duck larb
                                grilled pork neck
                                napa cabbage soup

                                I also like their
                                thai sausage
                                panang curry
                                green curry

                                I think the papaya salad is better at Supannee House of Thai. Their massaman curry with slowly braised beef is also fantastic.

                                1. re: MrKrispy

                                  This thread solved the problem of where to go for dinner tonight...

                                  Pork pad thai. Excellent.