Sunday, July 19, 2015

Monsoon Thai Goes Way Beyond Pad Thai

Excited to get my fix of comforting Thai food, Dan and I met new friends Danielle and Pat at Monsoon Thai last week on Mississippi Ave.  Truth is that I've passed by this place on many occasions without really noticing it, as it's not one of the modern, trendy restaurants that primarily occupy this neighborhood.  However, this is a good thing, I think, especially when it comes to Thai cuisine, making us look forward to our experience.

As I already hinted above, the ambiance at Monsoon is far from trendy and modern, but it's no dive either.  From the outside, it's pretty noticeable with a bright yellow facade and cheery signage.  In fact, I think it's quite fitting for an authentic Thai restaurant and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Inside, the dining room is spacious and I love that they have these large wooden booths that create nice privacy.  We chose this style of seating exactly for this reason and sat near the window which gave us a little view of Mississippi Ave.  Note - there are two entrances to the restaurant, one in the front and the other  off to the side where you can pick up your to-go orders.

While the menu is extensive, I'm happy to report that it's not overwhelmingly long, which made our choices easy.  We tried a little bit of everything - mixing both traditional staples with some new things as well.

Appetizers - Starting off with some deep fried tofu and fresh salad rolls was a good idea.  I love a nice piece of tofu and Monsoon's definitely delivered, as they weren't oily and went perfectly with the tangy peanut sauce.  The salad rolls were excellent too, stuffed with fresh vibrant veggies such as carrots, cucumbers and lettuce.  The latter was a great option if you're choosing to eat light.

Entrees - We each decided on a different entree and sampled each other's food, which was a fun way to go.  I went for the Thai Ginger stir fry dish with pork, Dan got the classic pad Thai with chicken, while our friends got other variations of these two dishes.  It was interesting to have a pork stir fry, as this isn't usually what I go for in a Thai restaurant but this was delicious.  The pork was tender and presented in bite sized pieces while the veggies in the dish such as shredded ginger, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers added nice freshness.

Dan's Pad Thai was also excellent - the noodles being a little tender but definitely not overcooked and coated in a slightly sweet and sour sauce that made your tastebuds dance.  The chicken that was mixed into the dish was nicely cooked as well and once again infused with great flavor from ingredients such as bean sprouts, green onions and once again the chunky peanut sauce.

Service and Cost:
We enjoyed really great service from start to finish.  As soon as we sat down, our waitress made sure our water cups were full and she came to check on us a few times before our friends arrived.  Once we ordered, it took just a few minutes to receive our food and the bill was easily expedited as well.

Costs are affordable and range between $4.95 - $10.95 for appetizers and $9.95 - $13.95 for entrees.  They also have great lunch specials for $7.95 for all entrees on the menu.

3 Mmmms

Monsoon Thai Cuisine -  4236 Mississippi Avenue, Portland OR 97217

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