Occupation: Immigration Attorney
Favorite Restaurant: Lers Ros
Reviewed Lers Ros: Saturday, May 5, 2012
We started off with an order of Thai herb sausage. It is served with a garnish of diced limes, ginger, chili peppers, and peanuts. The sausage is grilled, and when combined with the garnishes, it really stands out as a favorite appetizer. The dish represents something that distinguishes Lers Ros from the many, many other Thai places in San Francisco: the restaurant is not afraid to serve Thai dishes, even regional ones like this sausage, in an authentic way. So many other Thai places “water down” the strong, bold flavors that Thai food inherently brings. Lers Ros represents Thai food in an uncompromising and confident way.
We ordered a dish of fried egg with acacia, which is floated in a tamarind-chili broth. This dish is yet another example of something most other Thai places would never put on their menu. The richness and depth of the broth must be tasted to be believed. Tamarind is a complex flavor and when added to chili and other aromatics it really comes to life in this extraordinary dish. We then moved on to a dish that represents the influence of the Chinese population in Thailand and Thai food. The Stir-Fried Pork with Crispy Rind and Chinese Broccoli, is not the most healthy dish, but the flavors and textures of the three-layered pork (pork, pork fat, and pork skin) are excellent. The sauce is light and tinged with chili, and the sautéed Chinese broccoli adds a light note to this rich dish. We also ordered another Chinese inspired dish: the pickled mustard greens sautéed with fresh lime and chili. It is a credit to the chef that greens could be made to taste so excellent.
We began going to Lers Ros when it first opened, when it was a sensation among the local Thai community. I am so thrilled to see how it was appealed to so many different people in San Francisco. You just can’t keep the lid on a great thing!
Occupation: Grad Student and Sales Engineer
Location: Walnut Creek
Favorite Restaurant: Caffe La Scala
Reviewed Lers Ros: Friday, May 4, 2012
This was one of the best meals I have had in a really long time. The restaurant reminded me of my time living in Hong Kong and traveling around Asia. In Japan and Hong Kong, everything is centered around food, food is more than just taste and a full belly — it’s family and memories and taking your time to slow down and enjoy life. This place reminded me of that. Walking in, it’s a bit shocking how small and crowded it is at first. I am used to that from Asia, but I can see it being a bit much for others. I felt bad for the patrons enjoying their dinners on a date while we eagerly awaited, hovering over their table and salivating. There was no room for privacy or space, this place is all about the food and it’s worth it. The fiery, red-clad servers bustle around quickly and nimbly serve with barely enough room to walk between tables. The wait was about 30 minutes, but I was with a good friend so I didn’t mind, we just used the time to chat. Once seated the service was impeccable. I never had an empty water glass, and they were kind and warm. The Pork Spare Ribs were not what I expected. They were small, and the meat did not fall off the bone. However, they were tasty and had nice little crunchy savory bits on the edges, which were delicious to nibble. The meat was not necessarily tender, but it was very hearty and tasty. They were salty, spicy, and had a hint of garlic. Perfect. Visually, they weren’t very appealing, they looked like little mini knuckles or pigs feet to me, but the taste was worth it and I would order them again.
They had amazing bits of fried garlic on the plate, which were little nibbles of heaven. The ribs were served with a sweet and spicy sauce, which was perfect and did not overpower the meat. We then had the pan-fried noodles. What a treat. The soft sweet noodle really complemented the spicy flavors tossed in. They were very very hot, but we both love spicy food so it was worth it. They were tossed with succulent generous chunks of perfectly cooked beef, and the entire dish was colorful, bright, and just perfect. We then had a nice side of hearty brown rice. It was the best brown rice I have ever had- cooked perfectly, grainy, hearty, and rustic. It was a nice soft complement to balance the heat from the other dishes. We then had the whole sea bass. I am not a huge seafood person, but this was delightful, and I find myself craving it often. It was fresh, light, refreshing, and was bursting with citrus. It was cooked in its own juice along with mint, cilantro, garlic, and lime. Every bite of fish was perfect and light. It melted in your mouth and left hints of tangy spicy lime in your mouth making you crave more. We then finished it off with a green curry prawn dish. I am not a big green curry fan, however what made this so amazing was how the prawns absorbed the curry. They took on the curry flavor and gave it a new bold kick; the soft and firm texture of the prawn full of the green curry was just amazing. It was even better than I imagined.
We finished off our meal with my favorite dessert- fried bananas. They served an amazing golden brown banana cut into small pieces and fried in a pastry-like dough dusted with powder sugar, and a beautiful caramel sauce. A side of thick creamy and indulgent vanilla ice cream made this the perfect sweet treat to end the meal. We also had many of the refreshing Thai Iced teas, which had a hint of peanut and helped calm the palate between the spicy and more refreshing dishes. Overall this was one of my favorite experiences, both food and atmosphere wise. I would take a date here, or a friend or family member any time. The neighborhood isn’t the best, but I’ve lived there before, so it didn’t bother me. Plan ahead for parking.
Occupation: Legal Administrator
Favorite Restaurant: 1300 on Fillmore
Reviewed Lers Ros: Saturday, May 5, 2012
It was our first time at the restaurant so we spent extra time looking at the menu, and the waitress made us feel comfortable with her attentiveness and helpfulness in answering questions about certain dishes.
We started with the fried rolls, which were fried vegetable rolls with sweet chili sauce. The wrappers to the rolls were light and flaky and tasted very good. The chili sauce was sweet but very spicy. We enjoyed them. We next shared the green papaya salad with grilled shrimp. It was a unique salad and would have been fine if it was not laced with chili and so hot. I have never had a salad that is normally cool be so spicy hot. The grilled shrimp was butterflied and a good portion for the salad. The only not spicy element to the salad was the quarter cut tomatoes that help cool my mouth down.
We then moved on to the entrees. I had the stir-fried crispy rind pork belly and basil leaves over rice. I will order any item on any menu that features pork belly and I was not disappointed. The fat rind side of the pork belly was grilled to a crispy finish, and the pork was very succulent. The basil leaves were slightly fried and added a nice flavor to the dish. It was perfectly served with rice on the side, which allowed me to add however much rice I wanted to my plate then spoon the pork belly over top. The portion was more than I could finish and a very good value at $10.95. My wife had the BBQ chicken which was part of a daily special with the green papaya salad. The chicken was a sizeable breast and a leg, so it gave us both white and dark meat. My wife likes white and I like dark meat so it satisfied us both. The chicken was very flavorful with a crispy skin but not greasy. It was served with sticky rice, which was hot and moist when it came, but got dry and cold very quickly on the plate.
We don’t normally frequent Thai restaurants, so I don’t know if the food was overly spicy but it was more spice than we like. I guess this is the way Thai food is. The pork belly dish was fantastic, and I would order that anywhere. The menu had over one hundred dishes on it and thankfully they were numbered because I could not pronounce any of them. I would go back with friends that wanted Thai in the city. I still don’t know how you pronounce the name.