WTGW 12/16/15: Lemongrass Grill Thai Restaurant and Bar, Monroe Falls

Standard

Here goes Ted, trying to make us more ethnic again.

Apparently this place used to be a cupcake place. Ted came in one day trying to buy cupcakes a few months back, and was immediately disappointed because clearly there were no cupcakes anymore. But then he was happy because he realized they had food and a bar and so it could become a WTGW pick. We’re a simple group to please.

Speaking of the bar – it’s kind of the first thing you see when you walk into Lemongrass. It’s where Amanda and Jerrid were waiting for us when we first walked in. And where Ted got handed a beer from the owner (I think? Or maybe just some random guy from the back room? We don’t ask or judge) just for stopping and looking at the beer list on the wall on his way to the table. So score for him, I guess.

And while we’re on the subject – because, well, let’s be honest, how many of these reviews actually don’t start out talking about alcohol, right? – be warned that the drinks at Lemongrass are poured rather generously. And that the server could likely be your bartender, as we experienced. Shane and I both went for the “girly drink” section of the menu, but what we were treated with was something more suited to sailors. The menu is basically like 15 variations on a Long Island, but with prettier names. They should all just be called “a mix of 10 liquors” and you just point to the one that sounds least offensive to your tastes. I mean, the server actually told us that someone passed out in the bathroom after drinking one of the kind of drink that Shane ordered (the Scorpion). I’m not sure if that’s something to be proud of or something that maybe should make you send your bartender off for some additional training.

It looks so innocent

It looks so innocent

Amanda smartly stuck to a rum and coke – or, more appropriately, rum with a bit of coke flavor. Jerrid had something called the Man-Hat-San (bourbon and some sort of cherry drink). Ted stuck to a myriad of beers whose names I can’t even begin to recall, but I know one of them had the work “sucks” in it. That’s a different marketing tactic.

As usual, we filled the table with appetizers – because, well, us. Shane and I got the Thai spring rolls and crab rangoon. Ted got the meat skewers – reminiscent of the time he ordered meat lollipops from The Merchant, but different. Amanda and Jerrid got the Lemongrass Bundle – which is basically the fancy Thai way of saying “sampler platter.” It included meat skewers, shrimp, crab rangoon, and something that they thought (and then later asked the server and it was confirmed) had a peanut butter sauce on it. That’s, well, weird. Even by our tastes.

Peanut butter does not belong on chicken. Just saying.

Peanut butter does not belong on chicken. Just saying.

There were two when this plate arrived. Someone got grabby.

There were two when this plate arrived. Someone got grabby.

Oh wait, there's the other egg roll. In front of Shane. Weird.

Oh wait, there’s the other egg roll. In front of Shane. Weird.

As you can probably already anticipate, the meat skewers were a big hit. The guys all agreed those were very tasty.

There’s a joke in there somewhere. I’ll let you all find it.

Everyone loved the meat. Hee hee

Everyone loved the meat. Hee hee

The crab rangoon was good, but the cheese sauce inside was different from any other time I’ve had that particular food anywhere else. It was almost a sweeter, creamier version. I mean, I’m not kicking these ones to the curb or anything, but they were definitely different.

Jerrid got the Pad See Ew with shrimp. Which judging from the picture on the website is kind of like Moo Goo Gai Pan at a Chinese place. And honestly, isn’t it all really just some combination of rice, meat and veggies? Exactly. Regardless, he didn’t seem to complain. He ate all of it, so if it sucked that’s a new way of dealing with it, I guess.

That plate would kill Shane

That plate would kill Shane

Ted got the monsoon chicken with jasmine rice. Yummy noises and clean plate award on this side of the table, too.

That rice didn't come with the big chunk taken out of the top of it, honest.

That rice didn’t come with the big chunk taken out of the top of it, honest.

I got the Drunken stir fry with chicken and brown rice. Now, we all know the little chili pepper icon next to any dish on the menu means “watch out, it’s spicy.” Well this entree had two, which I took to mean “beware, this is stuff only crazy people eat.” Not really. In fact, I’m glad the waitress brought out the additional plastic cup of “hot oil” that she said we could add to make the dishes spicier.

Drunken = spicy. There's a joke in there somewhere.

Drunken = spicy. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

Although, fair warning – that hot oil stuff should have like 100 chili pepper icons next to it. Because, damn. Let’s just say a little bit goes a long way. And when I say little I mean like microscopic. And it sneaks up on you. Ask Amanda, who drizzled a tiny bit on her meal and claimed it wasn’t bad … until a few minutes later when it finally kicked in and nearly took her breath away. I’m somewhat surprised trying to douse it with the amount of alcohol in our drinks didn’t just set the entire table on fire.

So there’s that.

Amanda got the Pad Thai. She was looking at a few other options but decided to play it safe. And she was not disappointed. We should also note that both she and I took half of our meals home. As with most Asian restaurants, they serve very large portions here. Clearly, they don’t mess around.

No peanut allergies here

No peanut allergies in this group

Shane had the pineapple chicken fried rice, along with the meat skewers. Yes, that was his third appetizer order of the evening.He joked about just ordering his entire meal directly from the appetizer menu – which, honestly, if some of them hadn’t included shrimp he very well may have done.

Vegetables, fruit and protein. That's a well balanced meal.

Vegetables, fruit and protein. That’s a well balanced meal.

So, back to alcohol – because, really, doesn’t it always come back to that with this group? – when I went to order my second drink I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Because, well, I wasn’t sure what the lesser was of all the liver killers I was facing on the drink menu. Sensing my conflict, the server asked if I wanted her to surprise me. Because that’s never dangerous, especially in a place that already seems to just throw an entire bottle of liquor in a glass and call it a drink, right? She asked if I liked cherry, I haltingly said yes …. and I’m happy to report that the drink I got was definitely that. Although what exactly gave it that flavor remains to be determined. I’m not sure if it was stronger than my first drink or not, but when I asked what was in it, she would only say it was “like five different vodkas … and then some other stuff.” Like what, roofies? That’s a dangerous game to play with the customers, lady. I almost felt like her goal was to get everyone smashed before they left. Again, playing with fire, no? Do we like calling cabs and cleaning out restroom stalls for our guests? I’m not sure I understand what the end goal is here.

All in all a good place, and it was definitely nice to change things up a bit by getting away from the burgers and fries places we’ve been visiting lately and branch out to something different. Although I think all of our livers might disagree.

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Amanda

Amanda

Jerrid

Jerrid

Steph

Steph

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted

Drinks:  Don’t be fooled by the paper umbrellas and fruit on skewers. These boat drinks will sink your battleship if you try to drink them too fast. 
Food:
As with most Asian places, beware of huge portions. And misrepresented chili pepper icons. But it was definitely all tasty.
Service: It was a little cumbersome having the server also mix our drinks – and when the meals came out it was one at a time, not a big tray with everyone’s orders. But she was attentive and pleasant. Or maybe she was just in a running bet with the guys in the back as to which of us would fall over first from the strong drinks.
Overall: There’s not really a ton of Thai places in the area, so I don’t have much to compare this one to – but we would likely go back if we were in the mood for that type of food again.

Next Pick: Shane

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