Met a friend for dinner in Salem the other night. Normally we just go to Thai Beer. It's easy to get to and dependably edible. However, we decided to try a new place, Thai Lotus.
My friend got the mussaman with chicken. He liked it much better than the curries he's had at Thai Beer. I thought it was decent, but nothing special. It had a moderate intensity of flavor. It was rather peanutty, though, which I think he liked. It was served with chicken and potatoes, primarily. ($7.95)
I had the pork larb. All the elements were there, though the dressing was a little one-note lacking fish sauce and heat. But it had adequate texture added from the toasted rice. It came with iceberg lettuce which I don't like. I prefer cabbage or a less watery lettuce. Not much herbage, just a little cilantro and mint. The thing I'd never seen before was that it came in an edible bowl, some deep-fried tortilla-like thing. It was denser, though, than a tortilla. If I had to guess, I would think it was an Indian bread that had been shaped and fried. Reminded me of a taco salad. Odd. ($8.95)
We also split some mango and sticky rice with a scoop of coconut ice cream. Okay sticky rice. Mango was underripe more than even normal for here. And coconut ice cream was really icy. ($6).
It's a pleasant place with comfortable booths and on the opposite end of Salem (actually in Keizer) from Thai Beer. The food seemed edible enough, at least. Didn't see anything out of the ordinary on the menu, though. Several Chinese dishes under stir fries. One of the chef's recommendations is teriyaki. Dishes were relatively low in spiciness compared to Portland. I wish my friend enjoyed Mexican more so that we could do some more fruitful exploring in Salem.
3858 River Road North