Strip mall Thai and sushi restaurants typically have lifespans comparable to the ephemeral mayfly. Even when they stick around for a few extra months, they tend to wallow in overly-sweet and greasy Americanized pad Thai and lackluster California rolls. Enter Mango Tree, a tiny Thai spot in Mariemont that breaks the mold. One step inside the white-washed, Zen-inspired interior and you know you’re in for something special. A crunchy-creamy crab Rangoon arrived with a vibrant mango sweet and sour sauce that, unlike the cloying industrial varieties, carried a subtle tang. The house-specialty Mango Tree roll, topped with mayo and masago, wraps shrimp tempura, salmon, avocado, and mango in a peach-colored soy paper. Cucumber slices form the wrapper for the Rose Roll (pictured), comprised of tuna, yellow tail, salmon, and white fish. It was devoured with gusto. Finally came bowls of fragrant green curry and pad see eew. The curry, ordered spicy and loaded with vegetables, tasted fresh and healthy despite the intensity of the spice, which comes from a house-made habañero chili sauce. In the pad see eew, stir-fried rice noodles and assorted veggies are coated in Mango Tree’s sweet-salty mixture of oyster and soy sauces, with no added sugar. If the kitchen can maintain such top-notch casual Thai fare, it will seriously extend Mango Tree’s strip mall lifespan.
Mango Tree Thai and Sushi, 7229 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, (513) 271-0809, mangotreemariemont.com
Originally published in the April 2014 issue.