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Review: E-San Thai Cuisine

February 4th, 2008 · 1 Comment

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E-San Thai Cuisine
133 SW Second Avenue
Portland, OR
503-223-4090
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Rating: ★★★★½

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As Rachael Ray would say, Yum-o! When I stopped by E-San Thai Cuisine I was starving, so I probably would have devoured anything they put in front of me. However, the food was outstanding–so I pretty much ate until my stomach could not hold another bean sprout!

First of all, I was pretty overwhelmed by the menu. They offer more than 70 dishes! Wow! But don’t be scared off by all the options, each dish is carefully detailed for those who aren’t completely familiar with all the Thai delicacies they offer.

My lunch companion and I started with the appetizer combination plate, which for $8 is a pretty good deal if you are sharing a meal. It includes three dipping sauces (peanut sauce, cucumber sauce and sweet and sour sauce) for the deep-fried egg rolls, the fried tofu, satay (choice of chicken, beef or pork) and the fried wontons.

I am not usually a fan of wontons, but the ground chicken inside the crispy shell was delicious–I would have eaten all four if I could have. The egg rolls were very tasty as well, very fresh and flavorful. We ordered chicken satay, which was very tender and amazing with the peanut sauce. The only thing we didn’t finish was the fried tofu, but that was just because we were getting too full just off the appetizers!

Our entrees arrived just as we polished off the appetizers. I went with the Gang Panang curry dish with chicken, and my lunch companion went with the Pad Se Ew noodle dish.

One great thing about E-San is that you can choose from five different levels of spiciness–from mild to extra, extra hot. I’ve heard that extra, extra hot is no joke, so we stuck to the middle range, and it still had a terrific bite!

We shared, but still had plenty left to take home, and I was really delighted with both dishes.

The Gang Panang was served in a large bowl filled with chicken and fresh vegetables and smothered in the Panang curry sauce, which is cooked with coconut milk. The curry was accompanied by a mountainous bowl of steamed white rice.

The Pad Se Ew dish came out on an oversized platter. My gosh! The wide rice noodles were huge, hearty and yummy! Again, the vegetables were very fresh and the brown sauce spicy.

As we stuffed ourselves silly, we both agreed that it was some of the best Thai food we’ve had in Stumptown!

From 11 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday E-San offers a great lunch special which includes 30 options from their regular menu at a reduced price. Because E-San is a popular lunch spot, you might want to consider take-out, especially is you are in a hurry. E-San also offers a good (and reasonably priced) selection of beer and wine as well as a full bar.

The dining room is comfortable and clean. I was so happy that the tablecloths were covered with large sheets of paper because I spilled more than a little bit of the curry sauce on the table. Oops! The service was very attentive and the food arrived quickly. My only complaint was that my water glass was pretty close to empty for about ten minutes before a waitress refilled it–that might not seem too long, but the food was pretty spicy and I was pretty thirsty.

Overall, E-San Thai Cuisine was a terrific lunchtime dining experience, and I can’t wait to go again to try some of the other mouth-watering options on the menu.

Pros: HUGE menu, great food, excellent veggie options, they offer five levels of spiciness, attentive service

Cons: Popular lunch spot and it can get crowded, parking can be tough to find

Download E-San Thai Cuisine’s menu: Page 1Page 2Page 3, Page 4

E-San Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Tags: $$ · $$$ · Business Lunch · Downtown · Leisure Lunch · Lunch with Friends · Noodles · Place to Celebrate · Romantic · Salads · Seafood · Special Events · Spicy! · SW · Take MAX · Take Mom and Dad · Take the Boss · Thai · To-Go, Please · Vegetarian · Worth a Walk in the Rain

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