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Restaurants & Bars 4

Renu Nakorn - Norwalk (long)

Jase | Jun 12, 200504:20 PM

I'm not a thai expert but have gone to Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas a few times and have noticed the quality difference against your usual thai joints. I don't intend to start a debate on whether or not it is overrated or is indeed the best thai in the US.

With that in mind and being in the area, my wife and I decided to stop in Renu Nakorn and see how they were holding up the legacy of LOS's owners ever since they moved to LV a few years ago.

On a weekend night, we walked in on a half full place at 7 p.m. and were seated quickly. We ordered the crispy rice and sour sausage appetizer, the whole fried catfish in sweet and sour sauce, from the northern menu, the green chili dip w/ pork skins, the jackfruit curry w/pork and finally the sausage. We got sticky rice instead of steamed and a couple of iced thai coffees. It was a lot of food but we figured we could take home leftovers something we can never do in LV.

Since my wife is not a chili head, we had to settle for getting only medium heat which may have affected some of the flavor combinations.

The appetizer had a pleasing combination of textures and tastes with the lime giving it that citrus acidity that contrasted well with the meat and rice. However, I found the sour sausage was a somewhat bland and didn't give as much of a contrast with the other flavors as it could have.

The green chili dip was wonderful with a slow heat that allowed you to taste the greeness of the chilis without killing your tastebuds. The accompanying pork skins were surprisingly only average and not as hot and crispy as I would have expected.

The jackfruit curry reminded me of the filipino soup dish sinigang. The broth had that interplay of tart and hot with the spices. The jackfruit was tender but the pork slices was only okay. Still a good dish.

The sausage had basil in it and good texture. It was tasty and flavorful if not a bit dry but I guess its supposed to be that way. My palate isn't advanced enough to figure out what was all in it.

Finally the whole fried catfish was great. This takes 30 minutes to prepare, if you want it order it right away. It was cooked just right, the meat was very moist, the skin had that delicious crispy rich flavor and mouthfeel without being greasy. The skin and meat around the gills and cheek tasted and felt like very good pork or duck cracklings but had the catfish essence. We picked the bones clean even though we were full and justified it by saying it wouldn't reheat well.

For dessert we had the mango and sticky rice. After having the glorious version at LOS, this was a dissapointment. The mangos were not as juicy and flavorful. But I love mangos and eat them at every opportunity.

Service was friendly and efficient. I think we surprised our waitress with how much food we ordered and ate since she dropped off the check without inquiring about dessert. The only thing we had left to pack up was half of the jackfruit curry. We had to flag her down again and she was apologetic about not asking about dessert figuring we were done with all that food.

Bill came to $59 after tax. I would say the food is not as good as LOS but better than your average thai place. Quality and value is well above average. We had enough food to easily share with another couple and be satisfied. The whole catfish is market price. Ours was approximately 18 inches long and was $18.

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