Restaurant Review: Lemon Grass Thai

There are a few Thai restaurants in the University City area, but Lemon Grass (3626 Lancaster Avenue) is my favorite. When BFF and I weren’t in the mood for Indian (or we didn’t feel like trying to sneak into the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s cafeteria on the top floor of our building), we’d head over there. This place has one of the best deals around, as you can get three-course lunch (appetizer, soup, and entrée) for $8.95.

When Chester and I are craving Thai for dinner, like we were this past weekend, there’s usually no discussion about where we’ll end up. On our most recent visit, the restaurant was pretty quiet, since its summer and most of the college students have skipped town. But, even when it’s really crowded, service at Lemon Grass is quick and efficient (yet another reason why it’s a great spot for a workday
lunch).

Actually, maybe efficient is not the right word to describe the service. Brusque might be better? Or, maybe even rude? The same two waitresses are always on duty. From the minute you sit down, you will think that they hate you—and everyone else in the place for that matter. They will expect you to know what you want even before you sit down, and they’ll get a little angry and roll their eyes if you ask for an extra minute. They may also try to grab your plate before you actually finish your food. It’s a little awkward.

But, Lemon Grass makes up for these shortcomings in customer service with the food. The menu has a variety of traditional and vegetarian appetizers, salads, soups, and entrees to choose from. Some of them have funny names (my personal favorites are Young Girl on Fire, a Cornish game hen that is doused with whiskey and set on fire tableside, and Evil Jungle Princess, a spicy chicken dish).

But, Chester and I are creatures of habit. He gets the same thing every time we go: The Golden Rings, which are calamari rings fried in a beer batter and served with a sweet and sour sauce, and the Beef Pad Thai. I rotate between a couple of different things. For an appetizer, I either get the coconut milk soup or the steamed Tulip Dumplings with chicken, crabmeat, and shrimp. And, for an entrée, I like the Musaman Curry (which is heavy on the coconut milk, just the way I like it!) or the Drunken Noodles (BFF’s favorite too!). Portions are generous and you can request that the spiciness of the dishes be adjusted, based on your preferences.

I haven’t ordered dessert here in awhile, but the fried bananas are my favorite. They are battered with wheat flour and coconut flakes, fried until they are perfectly crunchy, and served with a warm vanilla custard sauce for dipping. I may have to have Chester dig out our deep fryer to make those at home soon!

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