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Monday, February 9, 2009

Thai Showdown at the Food Hussy Corral!

Well - it is Mekong vs. Aspara in our Thai showdown! Here are our competitors:

Restaurant: Mekong Thai
Neighborhood: Deer Park
Location: Strip Mall
Price: $
Restaurant: Aspara Asian Cuisine
Neighborhood: Blue Ash
Location: Former Brewery right off Pfeiffer
Price: $$

Atmosphere: Hands down - Aspara wins. It's a beautiful restaurant with a huge waterfall along one wall and used to be a brewery. Mekong is a small narrow strip mall joint.

Service: Eh - Mekong by a sliver. The service at Aspara was more professional because it's fancier. The waitress didn't bring spoons for the entrees. Then the waitress threw out my dinner companions food instead of boxing it up. They did recook a half-portion for him to take home. It just seemed very generic and textbook. Mekong on the other hand had extremely friendly service but was slow slow slow. But in the end, I'll take the happy & quirky Mekong staffer - she was so friendly and next time I'll order a spring roll to start.

Price: Mekong - as you'll see - it was cheaper across the board. No ambiance - I guess that's where the money goes!

Food: MEKONG BY A MILE!

Aspara Dish #1: Seafood Clay Pot - $19 - sounds good, looks good, tastes eh. Cooked imitation crab and squid kinda yuck. Mussels, shrimp & scallops were fine...quite a few veges. They served it over rice. They don't have brown rice (???). I ordered a 5 on a scale of 1-10 and it was more like what I'd imagine a 7. I just couldn't get over the imitation crab! Plus - the flavor wasn't really much FLAVOR - it was just spicy.

Aspara #2 - Basil Thai Stir Fry with beef ($16) - this I didn't taste but it was beef, peppers and onions. Pretty boring...most thai places have more veges in this dish than just peppers and onions. Good portion size.
Mekong #1 - Spaghetti Thai Spicy ($9) with beef - stir fried spaghetti noodles with thai basil, broccoli, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes and eggs. I ordered it a 1.5 on a 1-3 scale and it was just right. There were a lot of veggies - good variety. The best thing about this dish was the flavor! Many times Thai just has a watery brown sauce that doesn't have much flavor - this was sooo different! It was a little thicker and just had a really wonderful flavor! I couldn't get enough! I could only finish 1/2 and can't wait to chow down the leftovers tomorrow for lunch!

Mekong #2 - Pad See-Eew which is wide rice noodles, stir fried with broccoli, cabbage and eggs in a smokey sauce ($10). This was also amazing. There weren't as many veges but the taste was so good! My friend is normally the type to only eat half - not tonight - he barely had any left to take home - he kept munching away! The beef was cooked so well - almost crispy on the edges. This was the waitress' recommendation and she did NOT steer us wrong!

I do have to say - Mekong is a more "oily" than some of the other big Thai mainstays (RuThai's, Green Papaya, etc...) but the taste is so amazing! The dishes all had great flavor and that's what matters.

But - in this Thai showdown - Mekong wins!

Mekong Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Apsara on Urbanspoon
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