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Senthongs , Dunsmuir

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Senthongs , Dunsmuir

ciaolette | Jul 10, 2006 10:17 PM

We are recovering from our hellbent roadtrip to Portland for the 4th weekend. Just wanted to give a review of Senthongs, our choice for dinner in Dunsmuir on the way up to Portland.
We had a reservation for 7:30, and arrived road weary and hungry. Senthongs is pleasantly decorated, on a quaint block of the main drag.
There were only 2 tables occupied when we arrived. A couple and a party of 10. The menu had an interesting selection of dishes, lots of fish and shellfish . We ordered a tofu veg curry, a shrimp and calamari saute, and a starter of chicken skewers, called yakitori on the menu, which I thought was strange for a south east Asian menu, so I asked if it was like Sate, and the owner who took our order nodded in agreement.
Then an entire HOUR passed til we were served any food. We chatted happily for about the first 30 minutes, then our low blood sugar and exhaustion set in, and we realized there was no option but to keep waiting. My mother, generally quite sweet tempered, broke down and implored the busboy for our meals, all he could say was something about a big party and the kitchen was doing its best. Since the room was 2/3's empty, we couldn't quite make sense of this.
Finally the food arrived, and though decent, not at all what we had expected.....
The two entrees came with a small salad, which was dressed with what was supposed to be house made miso dressing, but which tasted like a bottled italian dressing to me.
The chicken yakitori ($8) was 5 flattened strips of very overcooked to cardboard chicken, swimming in a watery teriyaki sort of broth. The shrimp and calamari saute ($17)was ok, the shrimp , maybe 6 small ones, had an unpleasant texture, spongy? The calamari , only 3-4 small 1" pieces, were rubbery not tender. This too was swimming in a broth which also had onions, celery and a tomato base with a nice touch of nam pla. the best dish of the night was the tofu curry, nice coconut flavor and properly crisp vegies. (I think this was around $14- but can't remember) For what the food and service was, it was WAY overpriced. I can understand the difficulty and expense of procurring fresh items for a business so out of the way, but still...all Thai restaurant shrimp are frozen, these were just not handled properly.
Overall, for food off the I-5, I guess this is an OK option. But we left wishing that we had gone to Cafe Magdalenna instead.
After we left, and it took 20 minutes to get the check paid after our plates were taken, we walked down the block and saw that they have an entirely separate dining room, in which a party of about 20 was dining. OK so that explains the busy kitchen...but still, they could have cranked out our three little dishes on the side. We would have rather spent the time walking outside in the evening twilight and enjoying Dunsmuir...
Bottom line, if you crave a change from burgers and roadfood, this is an OK option, but expect to take 1-2 hours for just a simple dinner.

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