Lemongrass is one of those places that you notice because it looks so nice from the outside. Each week that I've been in Rhode Island, I've noticed it as I drove past, unfortunately, in each of my passing's, it was either too early in the morning, or after I’d already had dinner and was on my way back to the hotel. Tonight, I actually planned on visiting it.
As nice as Lemongrass looks from the outside, its welcoming interior is even more inviting. The place has a warm look and feel, walking in your senses tell you ahead of time that this going to be a good eating experience, and it is.
Lemongrass is one of those multi-Asian restaurants that are so popular around Providence, claiming expertise in Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Chinese cuisines; I just stuck with Chinese tonight.
As a party of one I never quite know how any meal will go. Tonight I was seated in a large booth next to one of the large store front windows that looked out unto Post Street; it was nice view of Warwick's night traffic.
The waiter was with me within seconds, and turned out to be a great guy, he never forgot I was there, he kept the water coming and even made a few funny jokes about how much I ate… or at least I thought they were funny anyway.
I started dinner out with a cup of wonton soup and some jumbo fried shrimp. The soup showed up in a full bowl, which had fresh pea pods, chives, and about 5-6 small but tasty wontons. I especially liked the broth, which was like a fine miso soup. The soup broth was very light, soulfully balanced and smooth, and had such a great flavor.
The more than generous 10 piece jumbo shrimp appetizer was fresh and delicious, the breading was a touch overwhelming, as in being more in the manor of a sweet & sour dish, in fact, it even came with a sweet duck sauce to dip the shrimp in. Honestly, they really didn't need to be that heavily coated since the shrimps were so fresh and good, so good, that by the end of the meal I had only three left…
When the dinner plate arrived it smelled totally wonderful; I knew right then and there that I was in for a real treat. The Kung Pao chicken dinner combo was absolutely delicious. Alongside the thin slices of stir fried chicken gently bathed in a sweet spicy sauce were fresh broccoli tops, sliced carrots and mini corns. The peanuts had a nice roasted taste and the red chilies had good heat; this Kung had some real POW!
The pork fried rice was expertly made and tasty, the pork was sliced long and thin as opposed to the 1/4" cubes of BBQ roast pork that are usually so common. The rice had a nice hint of sweet onion flavor, without being overly darkened by too much soy sauce or anything else. And the peas and carrots were in good proportion along with some fried egg, all in balance, and nothing overwhelming the dish.
For whatever reason, my egg roll arrived last, it was good, but definitely not the strongest thing on the menu.
As I said the place had a quiet confidence about it, and it was nice to see a few of the regulars still coming in strong at 9 PM during my Monday night visit.
I overheard the table in front of me telling their waiter that they had moved out of the area, and were so excited to be back dining at their favorite Asian restaurant today. In addition to the dinner order they placed, they also ordered a second large order to go.
And after stuffing myself with the great food, I can completely see why. As I ate, I found I couldn't stop from stuffing myself to capacity. I really enjoyed my dinner, this is a must visit again kind of place.
Taste – 9
Experience – 8.5
Value – 8.5
Score – 8.7