Restaurants & Bars

Portland--Stay away from Lemongrass!

Chowflake | Jun 5, 200103:30 PM     5

Hello, Chowhounds,
Just wanted to share a dismal experience I had at Lemongrass Thai, on Couch St. in Portland. Encouraged by all the "best-Thai-in-Portland" publicity, my companion and I went there one March evening. First off, our waiter neglected to mention the kitchen was out of fish until we both ordered fish dishes. Now if you have read anything about Lemongrass, you know they have a heat scale of 1-20. We read a review saying anything over a 5 is incendiary. So, we figured a 3 would be medium, the heat scale not being explained on the menu or anywhere else. Our food was nearly inedible, and we love spicy food (1-20?? Come on!). When I mentioned this to our waiter (I had to go to the kitchen to track him down)he snarled at me "I explained the heat scale [he had not], you pull a number out of the air, what did you expect? What do you want me to do? Re-cook it?" Stunned, I replied that we would appreciate that. I returned to the table and he came to retrieve our dishes, and he said loudly "This is a hot restaurant. Didn't you get a clue when you tasted the soup?" and continued to berate us, stopping conversation at the nearby tables.

I was so angry I wrote to the owner. I had to call her to follow up on my letter (she didn't respond on her own), and she couldn't remember if she'd read my letter or not. Her response was basically "I've never received a complaint about our waitstaff, and we are very very busy." I got the impression that this is a restaurant that courts the regulars, and to hell with everyone else. Oh, by the way, the food was good but nothing to write home about. Certainly not the best Thai I've ever had. I kindly told the owner the food was excellent while I was futilely trying to explain how her waiter ruined our evening, but "excellent" is an overstatement. Overrated and overpriced is more like it. The only thing I'd say they are the best at is rude service.

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