I enjoy the cozy monotony of a good Pad Thai. For better or worse, the dish is my barometer for assessing Thai menus. This habit failed me big-time at Mekong Thai Cuisine. Had I stopped with that ubiquitous noodle stir-fry—which was serviceable but not spectacular—I would have missed some of the tastiest Thai food around. In a city fairly saturated with Thai cafés, modest Mekong rises to the top. Take the crab rangoon. The usual suspects are present—imitation crab meat with rich cream cheese; some scant celery and carrots—but Mekong pairs theirs with strawberry sauce, a happy departure from the orange goo served up by more average joints. The hot and sour Tom Yum soup is so spicy and flavorful that I singed my lips more than once diving back in before it was prudent, and the veggie egg rolls border on rustic, with roughly chopped vegetables that eclipse the anemic cabbage in most rolls. Main dishes keep up the good work: The red curry is as tangy and savory as you’d get in any sub-continental kitchen, and the garlic chicken sports a side of broccoli that is, blessedly, still firm and bright green. Mekong pulls no punches with their heat index. One through three—mild, medium, or spicy—are your options, but don’t be scared by the limited range. I backed up to one and a half and regretted it. Next time, I’ll pull my socks up and order a level two to get the full effect. If you do overshoot the spicy, order a Thai iced coffee. The impossibly thick condensed milk will put out any fire.
Mekong Thai Cuisine7687 Montgomery Rd.(513) 791-7565Originally published in the March 2012 issue.
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