POSTED ON MARCH 3, 2010:
Of the Asian Persuasion
Lanna Thai offers authentic trip to Asia
Just the mention of Lanna Thai triggers enthusiastic responses and sighs of satisfaction.
In their new location on south Memorial, Lanna Thai continues the Tulsa tradition of fantastic Thai cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere and with warm Asian hospitality.
Warm greetings are always part of entering Lanna Thai, which was the case this evening. The hostess offered us a booth, and our server welcomed us soon afterwards.
The menu is seemingly endless with pages of Appetizers, Soups, Salads, as well as entrées such as Fried Rice and Noodle, Seafood, Stir-Fried and curry flooding the mind with options.
Wisely, the dishes are numbered. No one wants to be stumbling over trying to pronounce Lanna Gang Juerd Mhoo-Sub, Pla-Nurng Kiam-Buay or Khao-Nuea Sunka-Ya. These names add to the exotic and traditional Asian appeal of Lanna Thai, coupled with the serving staff, dining here is a pleasant trip across the globe.
We began with sharing No. 1 on the menu, Lanna Spring Rolls ($4.95). Spring roll wrappers are filled with chicken, carrots, celery, ear mushrooms, clear noodles, cilantro, garlic and black pepper then deep fried. Served with the special Lanna sweet and sour sauce, these rolls were just the beginning of what was to come.
They were very crispy and tightly assembled, and with a dip in the sauce, the taste was earthy, with no one flavor stealing the show.
We then took our server's recommendation of No. 9, Tom Kha Gai ($8.95), a soup entrée that was simply exquisite.
The soup is described as a tart and spicy chicken soup with galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, tamarind juice and coconut milk.
Galangal is an ancient spice, particularly used in Thai cuisine for its fragrant properties and peppery taste and has been known to have a warming effect on the body.
Used often in Southeast Asian cuisine, kaffir lime leaves are used because they are highly citrus and aromatic. Taken from the fruit of the tamarind tree, tamarind juice has a sour and sweet taste and is often used as a drink in itself.
With these and the other ingredients, this soup was beyond words. The texture was silky and the coconut milk soars to the top with its rich, slightly sweet flavor. Each bite was an explosion of flavors, as one of my dining companions expressed. Fresh cilantro added freshness to this simple yet complex soup. It has a full, deep flavor, and it warms the spirit.
We next shared No. 25, a selection from the Fried Rice and Noodles entrees, Lanna Khao Pad Goong ($11.95).
This is a dish of Thai fried rice with jumbo shrimp, green peas, carrots, onions and tomatoes and then topped with a fried egg and some green onions. It is served with a clear soup.
Another consideration when ordering is to be prepared to request how hot you want to go with each dish: zero for not hot at all; one asterisk (*) for mild; two asterisks for medium; three for hot and five for extra hot. For my dishes this evening, I either went with hot or extra hot.
For this dish, I took it to the limit with extra hot. The shrimp did not let us down. They were very hot, yet tolerable--to those not put off with a little brow sweat. The shrimp were large and the taste was fiery but ideal for this dish. The rice was prepared perfectly-- loose with a slightly firm texture.
The fried egg on top was an extra treat for me as I chopped it into my rice. The clear soup, seemingly a chicken-broth base, was used as more of a dressing to drizzle over each of serving. It added a smoother texture and another level of flavor.
Our next dish to share was No. 55, Gang Dang ($10.95). From the Curry entrées, this dish consisted of our choice of chicken, pork or beef with carrots, sweet peas, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, green beans and sweet basil. This is cooked in red curry paste and coconut milk and served with steamed Thai jasmine rice.
We found this dish refreshing and healthy with the coconut not as sweet as might be expected. Again, I chose extra hot sauce, which we said has a one-two punch in each bite.
We chose beef which was thinly sliced and worked well with the parade of ingredients in this dish.
The curry was there but did not steal the show; it just added more explosive heat to the dish.
One final dish we had was the Goong Kratiam Prik-Tai ($13.95), No. 63. These jumbo shrimp were marinated with a garlic-pepper paste then stir-fried. Cucumbers and tomatoes were served on the side and topped with fresh cut cilantro.
White rice was served with this dish. The shrimp was fresh and crisp and had a defined garlic taste. The cucumber and cilantro added a fresh summery taste.
The service was superb -- friendly and most accommodating to our dining needs. Something important to note is a simple request of your server and most of the menu items might be prepared as vegetarian dishes.
The bar is fully stocked here with a decent selection of wines, dessert wines, ports, bubbly Dom Perignon, Martinis, Sake, beers, coffee drinks and signature cocktails (Alabama Slammer, Blue Hawaiian, Chi Chi, Purple Thai, My My Mai Tai).
Lanna Thai Restaurant
7227 S. Memorial Drive
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