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Champa Garden Report.

Will the Thrill | | Jun 21, 2006 10:02 AM

Went there last evening around 6 with my sweetie and perennial dining companion, Tappy. Place was very clean and cheery, in a non-descript kind of way. They are obviously trying to make the place a step above.

Tappy wasn't all that hungry, so we just ordered three things. Nam Kaow, which is the rice ball with pork,lime,etc. When it comes out, it basically looks like a plate full of broken rice with bits of preserved veggies and pork and scallions. It comes with a huge plate of lettuce leaves, and cilantro and mint leaves. Take a lettuce leaf and scoop up some of the Nam Kaow and throw some herbs on top. It was really,really good.

Tappy wanted Tod Mun, but we were told it was out of season (?????). Never heard that one before, but she ordered the fried sweet potato instead. Little bits of deep fried yam. Very lightly deep fried (oxymoron). Non-greasy and sweet, very delicious.

Main course we had one of the specials on the board, Fried Catfish with panang curry. This was really special. Crunchy pieces of fried catfish with a really complex, spicy panang curry. Panang curry usually isn't one of my favorites, but this one was super good.

All these were washed down with plenty of 2 dollar Singha's and Beer Lao's. The Beer Lao was a new one on me and I actually preferred it over Singha. Very light and crisp and went very well with the spicy food.

They had tons of Lao and Thai and Lue favorites on the menu, and our waiter said they were fine tuning the menu, adding new things and taking away things people didn't care for.

It was a little pricey, I thought, for what it was. We spent 40 bucks for two with tip for the 2 apps, curry, and three beers.

The waiter (one of the owners??) was super friendly and helpful and overall the place had a really good feel to it. Interesting mix of people,too. At one point a couple of local toughs walked in and I liked to think of them hanging around the corner and saying to each other "Damn, I gotta get some of that Pla Panang Curry from Champa right now!"

Give it a try. Very interesting food.