I arrived around 11:30 a.m. on a Friday, seemingly well ahead of the lunch rush. The hours posted near the entrance said they wouldn't open till noon, but all of a sudden, chef/owner Shelley Siripatrapa opened the door saying "We're open!" So hey, I was their first customer that day.
Only later did I find out that Lemongrass really does open for lunch (Tuesdays through Fridays) from11:30 a.m. to about 2 p.m. (the posted hours are outdated). Lemongrass also opens for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays (closed Sunday and Monday).
Lemongrass has 10 levels of spice, and their "medium" is actually somewhere around level 2. I ordered the chicken curry, level 2 spice ($12.50). I also received various forms of red Thai chiles on the side: a minced fresh variety, a minced toasted form, and chiles fried in oil (basically a smoky chili oil by that point).
|Chicken curry (level 2 spice)|
|Closeup of the chicken curry (level 2 spice)|
|Fresh minced red Thai chiles|
|Toasted red Thai chiles (left) and red Thai chiles in oil (right)|
The chicken curry was delicious, one of the best Thai curries I've ever had. A generous portion of juicy, sliced chicken stewed in an amazing curry sauce, comprised of ingredients such as cumin, chili oil, and coconut milk. The cooked diced potatoes melted in my mouth, while the silky onions and tomatoes provided more flavor depth.
I was pleasantly surprised that their level 2 spice packed some punch but retained such incredible flavor. I'd say their level 2 was about a 7 on my 1-10 spicy scale. I could probably go up to level 5 without sacrificing taste, but will likely pass on getting level 10 -- not because it may be too spicy, but because I learned my lesson from Baan-Thai Restaurant: people also eat with their eyes.
Amazing service, and I absolutely love the decor. At Lemongrass, it feels like you're going home for a lovely Thai meal. Shelley was a pleasure to talk with and made me feel so welcome. This is really a hidden gem in NE Portland, if only because it's not on a main road. It's near the Green Castle food pod, so if you love spicy Thai food, do yourself a favor and check Lemongrass out! 9.25/10