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Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

Mekong Café Offers A Taste Of Vietnam, Laos And Thailand

Three Nations, One Menu

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Named after one of the world’s longest rivers and one Southeast Asia’s busiest waterways, Mekong Café represents the distinctive, traditional cuisines of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand on one menu. Mekong Café has been serving Thai marinated crispy roast duck, sesame chicken, beef curry, yellow curry noodles, Vietnamese noodles and lad na since opening its doors in 2008. And while its outstanding selection of entrées has produced a loyal following of return customers, the restaurant’s equally exceptional appetizers and desserts have helped make Mekong Café unforgettable.

Filled with ground chicken, bean sprouts and shrimp, the ban xeo ($7.95) is a deep-fried Vietnamese appetizer, served with sweet and sour sauce and an onion relish. A great value, the curry egg rolls ($3.95) also contain chicken, curry powder and a pleasant kick, while the Laotian beef jerky ($6.95) is marinated beef strips that are incomplete without the addition of homemade volcano sauce. Moreover, the sample platter ($12.95) is fitting for those in search of a little variety. Delicious and robust, the platter includes two fried egg rolls, three crab Rangoon, two chicken satay, four friend temple tofu and two fresh spring rolls. Hand rolled and filled to the brim, the fresh spring rolls are sliced cucumbers, shredded lettuce and carrots, cilantro and vermicelli noodle, wrapped in a soft rice paper and served with homemade peanut sauce, sweet and sour sauce and plum sauce. 

Beautifully presented and thoughtfully prepared, Mekong’s selection of soups and salads is fitting accompaniment to most of its curry dishes and noodle entrées. Made with shredded cucumbers, tomatoes and garlic, the cucumber salad ($5.95) is covered in a refreshing herbal lime dressing also used in the Laotian-style papaya salad ($5.95). While ripe papaya and seasoned peanuts define Mekong’s papaya salad, the Mekong house salad ($5.95) is celebrated for its variety and customization. Served with either grilled beef or satay chicken, the dish includes cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lettuce, broiled egg whites and Mekong Café’s authentic Thai dressing.

Moving on to some cold weather favorites, the hot and sour tom yum soup is seasoned with lime juice, lemon grass and hot peppers, and features chicken, shrimp or assorted vegetable, while the Thai tom kha soup provides a milder, coconut-based alternative. All soups can be purchased in cups, as well as bowls and “hot pots,” which make lunch and dinner entrées.

One might expect dessert to be a sweet afterthought rather than a pursuable endeavor, but Mekong Café takes care to ensure that a meal can end as deliciously as it began by offering up a sweet assortment of simple desserts including deep-fried bananas covered in honey; Thai deep-fried bananas, wrapped in rice paper and served with vanilla ice-cream; purple sticky rice pudding made with coconut milk and topped with a layer of egg pudding; and sticky rice pudding with mango. Subtle, soothing and delicious, the Thai rice pudding with mango effectively proves that true comfort food needs no translation.

 

Mekong Café

5930 W. North Ave.

414-257-2228

$$

mekong-cafe.com

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