- 2666 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH, 45208
- Overall User Rating:
- (1 rating)
- 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m.; 4 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday; 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday
Pad thai is the crowd-pleasing favorite at most Thai restaurants. It's easy to see why, combining dueling comfort foods in peanuts and noodles with seductive Thai flavors.
The measure of a good Thai restaurant, however, might well be not how good the pad thai is but how the other dishes stack up. Lemon Grass offers a well-balanced menu featuring fresh ingredients and a staff that presides with warmth and confidence.
The mood: Lemon Grass is a fairly unassuming establishment, both inside and out. The lack of pretension should not deter potential diners. The wait staff is friendly and fellow patrons seem to share a similar enthusiasm for the food. The atmosphere is altogether pleasant, if a little bland. In a testament to the staff's attentiveness, I've walked in and ordered takeout in the past, wandered outside and someone flagged me down and delivered my meal in hand.
The food: A good place to start when branching out with Thai food is curries. We decided to try the red curry with chicken ($8.95), which includes eggplant, carrots and bamboo shoots. Aside from being ostensibly healthy, it's also a quite savory dish and sufficiently spicy at a "4" rating (out of 10). We also selected the pineapple fried rice ($7.50), more of a safe pick. It's a good take on the dish - the sauce is tasty but not overbearing. Also worth trying is the Massaman curry, a sweeter, coconut milk-based curry served with potatoes.
The drinks: Lemon Grass has a decent beer selection, featuring the likes of Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam and Sapporo ($2.75 domestic, $3.95 imports). I personally don't fancy the drink, but if you like sweet tea, you might well like the Thai iced tea here. Call me a purist, but given the already striking flavors and my preference for spiciness, I opted for plain old water.
The damage: $21.
The verdict: Lemon Grass is named after an ingredient common to Thai cuisine, which is like naming a bakery "Nutmeg." This no-nonsense, workman-like approach is reflected in the food. There are no elaborate flourishes to the presentation, but plenty in the taste. For the value, Lemon Grass serves a superior product. And there's plenty to discover on repeat visits. I'm partial to the red and Massaman curries, though anything with basil has promise. I'm also interested to take on their signature spicy walleye dish.