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Restaurants & Bars 2

THAI LAO REST., Halekua Center, 563 Farrington, Kapolei, 674-2264

Joebob | Dec 10, 201101:24 PM

The Fried Calamari are a large pile of perfectly breaded and cooked rings. A great starter for a crowd.

I prefer my stuffed chicken wings unbattered, so I did not order this, but the owner prefers them unbattered too. Perhaps he could be convinced to offer the lower-calorie alternative if enough people ask for it.

The chicken larb couldn't be better; lots of mint and cilantro and sour and salty and heat, which reminds me to write that you need to tell the waiter how hot you want your food. If s/he doesn't ask, they will make it mild. If that happens, they have a rack of add-ons including a couple of pepper pastes they can give you.

Something I've not had elsewhere is the Eggplant Salad; "roasted eggplant, minced pork & shrimp tossed with tomatoes, lime juice and Thai spices", which was WONDERFUL in the medium hot version I had. The flavors blended into an ethereal product.

An acquaintance says that the Panang curry is better at Phuket Thai. I can believe that. This version has a little too much peanut vs. coconut flavor, though the salty-sour balance was ideal, as it is for the Tom Yum soup.

Another outstanding choice is the Pad Horapa (stir-fried green/long beans with shrimp or seafood and sweet basil). The day we had it, there was a lot of wok hay plus some mysterious flavors we couldn't identify (oyster sauce? shrimp paste? both?).

There are a few items written on a sheet of plastic near the cash register that are of interest. The lao sausage was good, but not the best I've had. The lao beef jerkey was very interesting; very dry slices of beef in a sweetish marinade. A terrific dish to take out and snack on while watching a movie or ball game. The Pad Poon, my BFF tells me, was uninteresting.

The last thing we had was so-so; Pad Tao Jiew. The Thai-style bean paste sauce was not detectable other than as a bland sauce surrounding celery, red and green pepper, protein and onion slices.

The restaurant is quite attractive, mid-level with white linen. Prices are reasonable for what you get.($10-12 mains for the most part). Overall, this probably is the best restaurant in Kapolei, better than Julie'z and probably better than anything in Ko'Olina other than Roy's. Apparently word of mouth is at work here. I was glad we had a reservation at 6PM Friday.

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