Last week "Cynsa" and I met for a late-ish lunch at Lapats Thai Noodle Bar. It had opened less than two weeks earlier in the former Mangosteen venue. For a new place, it was surprisingly busy and we had a short wait for a table. When I asked our waiter if the owners had operated any restaurants before, he answered "No", but then added that they are from the same family that owns Lers Ros up the street.
From the "main dishes" section of the menu, Spicy Baby Spare Ribs, $10.95, stir-fried cross cuts of boiled pork ribs with a heavy chile paste, young peppercorn and kaffir lime leaf. The fragrance was wonderful and this was the spiciest dish we tried. However, the flavors did not really penetrate the coarse and dry-ish meat.
From the "house noodles" selections, Kuay Tiew Ped Toon, $10.95, featured a braised duck leg perched on a bed of fresh rice noodles and plucked bean sprouts in an herbaceous special black soup. The duck was very meaty and succulent but not as intensely seasoned nor sweet as the signature dish at Hai Ky Mi Gia. This tasted more of itself rather than the sweet spices.
Koh Moo Yang, $7.95, listed in the "house appetizers" section, was our favorite of the three items we tried. Grilled and subtly marinated pork neck was mostly tender with a slight chewiness to the bite. Dressed with rice powder, red onion, lime-chili dressing, scallions and fresh herbs, the slabs of pig jowl were accompanied by crunchy fresh cabbage.
Despite the name, the menu extends well beyond noodles though there are noodles of aplenty. I'm looking forward to trying more of the menu.
Lapats Thai Noodles Bar
601 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109