Editor’s note: Cheap Bites explores what a Petaluma students can get for just $15.
Petaluma has a very diverse number of dining options around town, and Lemongrass Thai Cuisine, true to its roots, does not fail to impress.
Located on North McDowell Boulevard, it serves a wide selection of traditional Thai delicacies. Unlike many restaurants, Lemongrass Thai offers more bang for your buck, meaning each serving was generous and one dish can fill you right up.
Walking inside, I noticed the dimly-lit restaurant has a delightfully warm ambiance. The music playing overhead wasn’t too loud and offered enough volume to not disturb those having conversations over their food. The attentive staff came over and offered comfortable seating almost immediately and brought menus and drinks shortly after. Like many restaurants, the service was pleasantly portrayed every time they came over to refill the water glasses.
After ordering, the staff offered a complimentary appetizer of shrimp chips. The colorful chips had a pungent aroma and the zesty taste was balanced by the sweet chili dipping sauce served alongside. Once you eat one, you’re almost inclined to eat another and eventually, ask for more. If you do need a refill, the chips cost $2.
The beverage selection is limited, varying from iced Thai tea and coffee ($2.99) and coconut water ($2.69) to sodas. The iced Thai coffee was presented nicely in a mason jar-like glass with a red straw. The flavor was thin and watered-down, and tasted very sweet. It’s exceptionally refreshing, so it’s the perfect drink for a hot afternoon.
The food arrived quickly after the order was placed, making it a good choice for those in need of a fast lunch. Unlike restaurants that make you wait up to 30 minutes, the service at Lemongrass Thai was swift without being overbearing and intrusive.
The presentation of the dishes was very neat and inviting. It’s quite rich, so each diner likely will only need one dish to fill up. The portions are so ample that you will likely need a takeout box. This place is definitely worth the buck.
The yellow curry ($10.89) is decadently flavored with coconut and slathered over vegetables and your choice of meat, ranging from pork to chicken, with tofu for vegetarians. The curry had a buttery overlay and was very creamy. The dish sends your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Bangkok and feels very authentic; the kitchen staff definitely knows what they’re doing with spices. There was a lack of balance between the warm sauce and the meat, which was a bit cold and chewy. But the rich coconut sauce was a pleasant complement to the chicken.
The menu showcases a classic mix of traditional Thai tastes. The appetizers range from the light fresh summer rolls ($7.59), a crisp mix of salad of and peanuts; to the decadent, like crispy prawns ($7.49) served with sweet and sour sauce. Deep bowls of tangy soup ($6.29-$12.79), noodle dishes like pad Thai ($8.89-$11.89) and fried rice ($8.89-$12.89) round out the menu.
Overall, the restaurant definitely holds a good reputation as a place for classic Thai dishes in Petaluma. It lives up to its honorable mention for the 2018 Petaluma People’s Choice Awards for Thai restaurants.