Eager to find out how good the Lao dishes at Canton Gourmet under new management are, I dragged my husband out last Fri there to check them out. I'm happy to report back that we weren't disappointed, in fact, it was a great success :)
We ordered 3 dishes; Larb Pla (blendered fish ;), Papaya salad, and the BBQ Chicken; all in "medium" level of spiciness.
The Papaya salad came first. It was pretty hot & spicy. I detected a hint of pickled fish which I later learned was made on-site, not a commercialized, store-bought, one. I'm not a big fan of pickled fish, but I didn't find its taste offensive this time, though I might ask the cook to skip it next time.. but that's just a personal preference.
Three styles of BBQ chicken were available: Laotian, Spanish, and African. We didn't specify which style to try. I assume the one we got was Laotian style, although, to me, it's very similar to that of Vietnamese. The chicken came on skewers with a pile of steamed rice occupying half the plate. Anyway, it was great -- tasty and succulent.
Last dish to arrive was the Larb Pla. This is the hottest of the bunch! It was too hot for us that after a few dip, we had to throw in the towels and packed it home in hope that we might be able to enjoy it later. We have yet to try it again ;)
Overall, we love the place. Attentive and friendly service, the atmostphere is very welcoming. Perhaps it was because we got there the same time the family that run the store was about to have their dinner, there were smiles and some small pleasant exchanges -- but not to the point where you feel uncomfortable. Just nice. After the meal, the lady who cooked our food came out to talk to us again (she was with us earlier, offered some free sample of some other dish that we ended up didn't order). She told us about her philosophy (only the best, fresh, and homemade ingredients that are good for health) and future plan (more rare dishes added) -- all sound very exciting.
Although they stated on their to-go menu that they deliver within 3 miles, I'm told they would go a bit further if you order 'a lot' (whatever that is!) I really like the place and want them to do well.. already made my husband promise to try pushing his coworkers to order from them next time they're thinking about ordering in for lunch ;)