Having grown up in Lincroft some forty odd years ago, it was really strange to find myself heading there tonight with my family to dine. And as we pulled into the small parking lot of the big old building that I remembered from so many failed businesses and restaurants over the years the feeling grew. But the inside was calm and nice and the greeting pleasant and the reviews good, so I relaxed and checked out the menu.
On the sign outside, Manow Asain Bistro is described as Thai/Chinese fusion, but the menu reads thai. Since Thai is my favorite cuisine I was good with that.
We started by sharing a bowl of Tom Kha Gai, or thai sour chicken soup mellowed with coconut milk, an order of Roti Canai, or yellow curry with chicken and potato served with thai fry bread, an order of thai green salad with peanut dressing, and an order of thai buffalo wings. To say that there was not a loser in the bunch would be putting it much too mildly. The soup and salad were as good as any outside Queens, Vegas, or Thailand, but the Roti and the wings were more special. The curry sauce on the Roti was just wonderful with a perfect balance of hotness and sweetness. The wings were plainly fried with a faint taste of a marinade, but the dipping sauce was a thinned out mixture of sriracha (sp?) sauce and honey that struck the same perfect balance.
For mains we shared some Manow beef fried rice, shrimp pad thai and an order of Pla Rad Prik, or whole fish in sweet and spicy chili sauce. Again it was all good, with the kids devouring the rice and noodles almost before I got to try them. But what little I had was fresh and flavorful, even though these are not my favorite thai dishes. I do love the fish dish though and unfortunately so did the rest of my family. The fish was fried crispy but not greasy and the sauce was sooo good. I was expecting the usual tamarind flavor, but I'm almost sure they used a different fruit for sweetness. No matter, we all loved every bite.
After paying the check we walked a few feet to the next building and had to check out Ralph's Ices. This chain is like Rita's on steroids and there are many. many choices. From smoothies to ices to custards to all the combinations you can imagine, they made it very hard to decide. Check out their website at:
On the way home we detoured through my old neighborhood and I reminisced about when there was only Attillio's, Joyce's Subs, and Dairy Queen. Times sure have changed.
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