(Last UPDATED 9/16/2018) Description and review of Lemon Grass, an upscale Southeast Asian cuisine restaurant located in the Arden-Arcade neighborhood of Sacramento.
A friend and I recently enjoyed lunch on a rainy Monday at Lemon Grass. Lemon Grass is owned by Mai Pham who has made a name for herself as both a chef and as the author of several cookbooks that have been very well received.
As we were driving to the restaurant my friend mentioned to me that Mai Pham also has a line of sauces and marinades that she has used to create her own dishes at home. I went on-line afterwards and noted that the Sacramento Food Co-Op carries the product – Lemon Grass Kitchen – so I am going to check it out next time I shop there.
The restaurant has a parking lot in the back of the building. As a result, we had no trouble finding a parking spot.
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There is a full bar immediately on the right when you enter the restaurant. Several people were already seated there enjoying their lunch. To get to the host/hostess desk near the dining area we walked into the room past the bar area. Once we did so we were seated in short order.
The ambiance and décor of Lemon Grass is definitely more upscale than many other restaurants serving similar cuisine. I also noticed immediately that it is much quieter than many restaurants. My friend and I had no problem conversing over lunch in a normal tone of voice even after the dining area started filling up. Our waiter was friendly and the service attentive.
There were two “specials” not on the menu and I was tempted to order the special crepe. The waiter informed us it is only offered on Monday and Tuesday. Although tempted I did not go that route – perhaps another time.
Since it was a chilly and rainy day I ordered the hot mango tea ($3.50) to drink with lunch. A bit pricey I thought – but then my cup was refilled repeatedly during the course of our meal.
The two of us decided to share the salad rolls (poached shrimp, pork, lettuce, mint, noodles and bean sprouts, served with black bean dipping sauce, chilies and chopped roasted peanuts) ($10.25) to start. I would definitely order the salad rolls again.
My friend shared her opinion that Lemon Grass has the best Pad Thai ($13.95) in town. That said, it was an easy decision for me as to what to order. I am no expert on Pad Thai but I certainly enjoyed my lunch – which contained both chicken and shrimp. The portion was more than I could consume at lunch, so I took home leftovers and enjoyed them later that evening.
As an interesting aside – Pad Thai is a relatively new dish to Thailand. Back in the 1930’s, as part of a campaign to promote Thai nationalism, a public contest was held to find a deserving national noodle dish. The winning entry was Pad Thai. Since then Pad Thai remains a staple, enjoyed not only from street food carts, restaurants and cafes in Thailand, but throughout the world.
My friend ordered the Thai Green Curry (sliced chicken breast, bamboo shoots, tomatoes and peas in green curry sauce with coconut milk, lemongrass and basil, served with steamed jasmine rice) ($13.95) – a favorite dish of hers.
To sum up, dining at Lemon Grass was a most enjoyable experience. I look forward to trying some of the other dishes that caught my eye in the future.
Lemon Grass Snapshot:
- 601 Munroe Street, Sacramento, CA
- (916) 486-4891
- Hours: Closed Sunday; Monday – Friday Lunch (11:30- a.m. – 2:30 p.m.); Monday – Saturday Dinner (5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)
- Parking: Parking Lot
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