Portland's Lang Baan Thai tasting menu is focused on Northeastern Thai cuisine for May, 2014. Chef Rassamee Ruaysuntia is native to that area of Thailand and she joins Earl Ninsom to delight diners in this back-of-the-house exclusive room three nights per week. After the fantastic southern Thai meal for April, we were eager to try May's offerings.
At first glance, we noticed that the starters were the same, as was their staple lobster salad and great salmon ceviche. But in between, the dishes indeed had traveled north.
Lang Baan has two seatings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, at 6 pm and 8:30 pm. Diners choose between a $40 10-course meal or a $60 option that includes the lobster salad and one other wonderful dish (in May, it is halibut).
An optional wine pairing is available, or select beers. After enjoying the wine in April, I opted for beer. I had finished the Hippie Chick Half Marathon in the morning and thought it would be more hydrating. I loved the Commons Rauch Alt beer, a local Portland craft brewer. I sampled what Burt ordered - Sasquatch Brewing Company's Szechuan Peppercorn Saison, and it was also an interesting and tasty Portland brew.
The May menu:
Miang som-O: pomelo, shrimp, roasted coconut sauce on betel leaf. (one of the tastiest bites you will ever eat!)
Khao tung tang-mo nar tung: pork with roasted coconut and peanuts, watermelon crispy sticky rice to scoop it onto.
Yum plaa-duk fuu: Catfish that was formed and fried as a net, which you crumbled over the green mango salad.
Soup: Gang om nok kra ta: Isaan style soup with quail, wild mushroom, kabocha squash and dill. This was a delicate but intricate soup that was very satisfying.
Lobster salad with asian pennywort, rambutan and thai herbs. Worth the extra price!
Pra Plaa salmon and makhua: My favorite dish, with eggplant and orange.
Now came a duo served with lettuce and herbs. Nahm prik hed lae plaa yang trout and king oyster mushroom in chili relish that my dining companions thought was the best of the evening, and Wagyu culotte tartare.
A fantastic coconut rice accompanied the next three dishes, and we were happy to have more to soak up the great curry sauces!
Gang bai bua bok goong lae lum yai: Spot prawn with curry of asian pennywort, longan and holy basil, with fried lemongrass. Amazing sauce.
Kor muu yang: Grilled Carlton Farm pork collar with grilled tomato for dipping. This was wonderfully roasted and packed with flavor.
Plaa yang bai tong nahm jimm prik kee nuu: grilled halibut wrapped in banana leaf with herb and bird-eye chili dipping sauce (for the premium option). Yes, wonderful.
Dessert: Tap tim krowp: Red rubies made from water chestnut with jackfruit in coconut jasmine syrup. A lovely dessert that wasn't overly sweet, a perfect ender.
We were full and very, very satisfied. Except that we think we need to keep returning!
Reservations are required for Lang Baan. You can email email@example.com and/or call (971) 344-2564.