I was FINALLY going to try Kaoneow Cafe ... too late ... RIP.
Then I noticed that That Luang Market opened a cafe next door.
IMO, That Luang Market is one of the better Thai markets in the immediate ares, so I gave the kitchen a try.
The area is has lots of Laotians and this from my limited Thai experience seems to have a mainly Lao menu.
Didn't want anything with rice or noodles so I ordered Mok Pla - steamed catfish with green onion, dill, lime leaves and fish sauce. Did not know what to expect and was expecting the usualy Thai soupy sauce with pieces of fish ... but no
It was a fish tamale. The ground up catfish was mixed with all of the herbs and wrapped in a banana leaf. It came with some fresh steamed brocolli that had a zing of ginger, some steamed cabbage for heat control and what appears to be a home made sriracha sauce.
This place actually had business unlike most of the Thai restaurants in the area. On one table there was Nam Kow - rice soom moo peanut fried lemmongrass and lettuce. I watched fascinated (and hopefully not rudely) as a huge plate of lettuce leaves were used to wrap up the large plate of some sort of mixture with a little sticky rice as a side.
There is Thai pho and the Larb which includes beef, chicken, pork or duck is Lao style (I asked)
Don't know too much about Thai food but the menu seems different than what I've seen in the past.
The room is nothing fancy. There's a big screen tv on one wall tuned to Thai cable. There's a nice selection of condiments on the table that includes sliced jalepenos.
Very nice wait person. After ordering she just checked to see if I had a clue and said "This is Lao style. Do you like spicy?" When I said yes, she let it drop and went off and got the order.
That Luang Kitchen Lao Cuisine
1614 23rd St, San Pablo, CA