My initial impression at Lemongrass was promising. Two friendly hostesses who showed my aunt and I to the table and our server welcomed us shortly after. The decor in the restaurant made me feel as if I was on an upscale boat docked in the Gulf of Thailand – a wall of thick, ivory ropes hang from the ceiling to the top of the long booth making it feel like a huge sail divides the bar and the restaurant spaces. The large, roped chandeliers in the middle of the room are a great compliment to the design as well. It’s a cool venue that could calm any picky eater’s skepticism.
My boyfriend, Mitch, warned us that he was running late and starving so we ordered a few appetizers, both of which are familiar to my picky taste buds: Vegetarian Spring Rolls and Pot Stickers. For a Thai restaurant, there are a lot of Chinese items on the menu, which was perfectly fine in my picky opinion. I recently perfected my chopstick game and reached for a sleeve. To my surprise, three chopsticks were enclosed. That’s right! One extra stick accompanied a normal pair of chopsticks. Has that ever happened to you!? Well, it was the first time I’d seen it so I considered it a sign of good luck– maybe I didn’t need to stop at Javier’s for chips and salsa before my dinner, after all.
Side note: Having a snack before going to a restaurant with an unfamiliar cuisine (or in my case, even a semi-unfamiliar cuisine) is a classic picky eater move. What can we say? We need to make sure we don’t go hungry if the restaurant isn’t what we expect. In this case, I like a specific kind of Thai food and after glancing at the menu days before my visit, I wasn’t sure if the food at Lemongrass had the kind of Thai food that I am used to. A hungry picky eater surrounded by food that I will not eat? And you think your hangry girlfriend is bad…
Unfortunately, my confidence quickly drifted away. Everything looked delicious when the appetizers came to the table but the food was not what I expected. The light and crisp shell of the highly anticipated vegetable spring rolls was mushy and doughy. In a similar way, the pot stickers did not characterize the crisp and upbeat dumplings that my picky taste buds know and love; rather they were limp and slimy.
The only Thai dinner that I eat is ginger chicken and white rice, which wasn’t on the menu (or at least there wasn’t a name or description that looked similar) so I opted for the Sesame Chicken. It’s a straightforward Chinese-American staple that I’ve had before, it’s not spicy, and I can easily avoid the chicken pieces covered in sesame seeds. Lalia and Mitch choose Chicken Pad Thai and Duck Panang Curry. The presentations of all three dishes were beautiful, and when Mitch tasted his Panang Curry he declared it the best he has ever tasted. Lalia was as pleased with the fresh and delicious Pad Thai. They ended up splitting the dishes and left me to the Sesame Chicken, which was unexpectedly mediocre. A thick layover of breading coated the chicken which was more than likely overcooked, making it very tough to chew. Nonetheless, the jasmine rice was outstanding. It doesn’t take much for me to like rice, but this rice was perfect (sometimes it is too sticky or undercooked).
Altogether, I do not think that I will return to Lemongrass based on the fact that my limiting picky taste buds were not happy with this particular Thai restaurant. Mitch and Lalia disagree (I know because we fought about it as we waited for our check) but that is also why this is a picky eater’s review of the restaurant!
Restaurant: Lemongrass / ARIA Resort & Casino / 3730 S Las Vegas Blvd / Las Vegas, NV 89109 / 877-230-2742
Picky Eater Approval Rating: 2/5