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LEMONGRASS, MORRIS PLAINS
We were lured back to Lemongrass, a Viet-Thai restaurant in Morris Plains, as we heard that they had new menu items. This casual BYO has always been a sure bet for both lunch and dinner, and received the 2013 New Jersey Monthly Critics Choice award for Southeast Asian/Thai cuisine. As in the past, the food was well flavored and inexpensive. Although our entrees were thoroughly enjoyed, we could have made a dinner out of the scrumptious starters. Highly recommended are the fluffy steamed hirata buns filled with pork belly and mango. Lettuce and a spicy sauce added more textures and levels of tastes. Fresh summer rolls, which were stuffed with a juicy, ripe mango, avocado, mint, carrot, cucumber and greens, kept our interest from first to last bite and had us wanting more. Although Pho is offered, we always return to the potent Tom Yum soup with vermicelli noodles and chicken, which sings with the right amount of heat and spices. Mango found its way again into a stir-fried with chicken accompanied by celery, red peppers, and a more sweet than sour, sweet-and-sour mango sauce. Pad Thai, one with shrimp and one with chicken was passed around the table more than once. Dessert is worth ordering, and while it may seem as if we overdosed on mango, the tapioca, sticky rice, coconut milk, mango puree and fresh sliced mango was a knockout. And although it was not made in house, the Peanut Butter Explosion with a brownie bottom, velvety peanut butter mousse, chocolate cake, fudge, brownie bits, and peanut butter chips was sensational.
Tom Yum Soup
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
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