Twelve hounds left Ozone last night happy, buzzed, and stuffed to the brim. The event was very successful in many ways - there was good company, good food, and good drinks. Thanks to everyone who showed up and made the happy hour a success. And a big thanks to HJ, who posted about this place originally on chowhound.
First of all, the ambience and decor was a big surprise for me. From the outside, the place looks like a cheesy sports bar, especially with the neon MGD sign (or was it Bud?). The inside was surprisingly modern and roomy, with warm lighting and benches with big soft pillows. One minus is that the place (or our tables especially) was drafty and cold. The large screen tv would make this a great place to watch the superbowl: uncrowded, good food, large tv, and comfortable pillows.
And now for the food, which was very good overall. The menu was gigantic and the variety is excellent. We were able to sample the most interesting of the small plates, which were meant to be eaten with rice soup (plain congee). A large bowl of rice soup was complimentary with an order of 3 small plates. We also ordered some appetizers and salads. We didn't have a chance to try their curries and their entrees.
Fried squid $6.95 Battered cuttlefish (I think it was actually cuttlefish) served with a spicy sweet and sour sauce. Sauce was good, the batter was light and not greasy.
Thai sausages $6.50 This one was a winner. The german people better watch out.
Garlic and pepper frog $6.95 Not very garlicky or peppery, and the frog was a bit bland.
Fried tofu $3.99 This dish is self explanatory.
Chicken Sate $5.50 The chicken was extremely juicy, but the flavor of the peanut sauce was rather boring - too sweet, not spicy at all.
Asian mushroom salad $6.50 Another winner. The mushroom is not the average variety. I don't know the name of it, but I'm sure someone else does. The salad also contained fresh shrimp and spicy thai dressing.
Duck salad $7.95 Another amazing salad. The duck skin was very crispy, and the meaty pieces were not too fatty.
Pork Larb $6.50 The salads continue to impress us. While not as herbilicious as the larb at the San Bruno Thai temple, this version was more complex than most.
Catfish Salad $7.95 Shreds of catfish were battered, fried, and served over lettuce. Dressing was excellent again.
Chicken Pad See Ew $6.50 Not so good. The noodles were too soft and were falling apart. There was too much fish sauce and not enough soy. The chicken part was fine. The real question is: What does Ed, the pad see ew expert, think?
Olive ground pork $5.50 A perfect salty accompaniment for the rice soup. Not too heavy on the olive flavor. I have a recipe for olive fried rice I've been meaning to try and this dish will guide the way.
Preserved vegetable salad $5.50 Fine but boring. This salad was in the small plates section and didn't involve a spicy thai dressing. It was more like chopped preserved vegetables. It is a standard accompaniment for the rice soup.
Salted fish with Chinese brocolli $5.50 This dish was okay. The brocolli was fine but I would have liked more salted fish.
Garlic and Pepper pork intestine $6.50 This dish needed more garlic and pepper as well as more tapioca starch so that the garlic and pepper sticks better to the intestine. Perhaps the intestine is slippery though, who knows.
Fried Pork Spareribs $6.50 Spareribs marinated in fish sauce and sugar and deep fried. In thai cuisine, it is common to deep fry meats until they start to dry out a little bit (another example: salt and pepper frog). This dish needed more flavor however... perhaps a good dipping sauce?
Preserved Egg with crispy basil $5.50 Excellent. The egg was battered and fried, and topped with pork and basil. There was a decent amount of basil, which is my main pet peeve with basil dishes. The egg was excellent, especially with the rice soup. Not too sulfurous.
Chai-po with egg $5.50 Shredded preserved turnip. Fine, but my opinion is skewed because this is the kind of dish I eat at home when I'm too tired to cook anything else.
Rice soup $1.50 Plain congee, piping hot. The first batch was a bit thick but the rest of the bowls were thinner. Nice and homey.
Note to self about dishes to try next time: beef jerky, clam prik pao, thai style on choy, the rest of the salads (there are 1.5 pgs of salad), especially the chicken lemongrass one.
Amazingly enough, the food bill came out to $11 per person including tax and tip, after the 25% off happy hour special. We were full.
Drinks consisted of beer and soju-based cocktails. A pitcher of anchor steam was $14, and the cocktails were $6 each.