Photograph by Jeremy Kramer
Restaurant resurrection seldom succeeds, but when it does, it’s a story worth telling. Kenwood Thai food mainstay Mekong had a great six-year run until owner Phout Bouthavong sold the lease upon her retirement. The staff, however, wasn’t quite ready to call it quits. Two waitresses—Bouthavong’s niece Lisa Pasith and Valerie Germain—along with Megan Sand approached the staff about re-opening around the corner under a new name. Fortunately, all were in agreement. Contracts were quickly signed and Bamboo Kitchen—in the spirit of Mekong—was quickly up and running. All the Mekong standards stayed: the sweet and tangy Pad Thai Tofu, the Pad Kee-Mao wide noodles with plenty of broccoli, basil, and cabbage bathed in a smoky sauce, and the spicy coconut milk-based curries—panang, massaman, green, and yellow—all studded with plenty of veg and herb. They’re all dead-on. Even the giant tapioca balls in the colorful bubble teas and the post-prandial coffee and tamarind candies keep the love alive. Bamboo Kitchen also benefits from better organization—you won’t be sitting at a booth in the hallway at this iteration, but navigating the Sycamore Plaza lot can be tricky at first. Small price to pay for an otherwise flawless resurrection.
Bamboo Kitchen, 7340 Kenwood Rd., Kenwood, (513) 984-1888, lunch and dinner Mon-Sat.
Originally published in May 2015.