Four of us went to Koh Samui & the Monkey on Friday night for dinner (415 Brannan between 3rd and 4th in San Francisco). Thanks to the Chowhounds who posted on it to give recommendations. Our overall impression was favorable. The food didn't blow us away but all of it was good, prices were fair and the atmosphere was fun and festive. Note that the spice level varied on the dishes we had from pleasantly spicy but we could have more, to non-existent, so if you like heat, ask for it.
The room was packed when we arrived at 8 p.m. Lots of people were waiting for tables, it was quite noisy and the bar scene was lively. I had made a reservation through Open Table so we were seated promptly at a great table. The restaurant's dining room is in a former warehouse with large windows and high ceilings with nice asian furnishings. The wooden chairs that you sit in are a bit dangerous to the kneesthanks artemis for the warning!
Imperial rolls. These were very good, crispy but not greasy (a plus!) although the sauce that went with was a bit thick and cloying and not spicy enough.
Chicken satay. This was our least favorite dish of the night. Nothing wrong with it, but the chicken was a bit bland and the peanut sauce not spicy enough and slightly too sweet.
"Crying tiger salad. A spicy salad of sliced grilled beef with lime, herbs, chili and red onion. This was spiced just right for us (we like spicy food). The beef was tender but didn't taste grilled to me, more like sauteed or wokked in an overcrowded pan.
Sliced chicken which was stir fried with basil, green beans, chilies in a garlic sauce. Very good but needed a bit more heat. Chicken had good flavor.
Grilled beef with vegetables in green curry sauce. I love green curry and this was pretty good. Seemed to be the same beef from the beef salad and the green curry sauce started out mild but the heat built up over time as I ate it.
Pumpkin curry chicken in red curry sauce. Everyone's favorite. Tender flavorful chicken, chunks of pumpkin, flavorful mild red curry. Highly recommended!
Lemongrass tofu. This was in a chili garlic sauce with onions and was great, but you have to like tofu as it's not disguised. I happen to love tofu and this was nicely crusty.
We had a bottle of wine and several beers. Total for all of us was about $120 before the tip.
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