Jullie: Lemongrass Thai Cuisine in San Francisco

Lately, if I'm too lazy to cook after a long day or I'm just craving takeout, I turn to one of three types of foods: sushi, burgers, or Thai. You really can't go wrong with any of those, and in San Francisco in particular, it's always easy to find a quality spot to chow down.

This time around, I was in the Russian Hill neighborhood with a few friends. We ended up ducking into Lemongrass Thai Cuisine simply because we walked past it on Polk St...and there was also a Loving Cup next door that we were eyeing as a dessert option! ;) It was a smaller, casual space, but the "Best of the Bay Winner" signs definitely got our attention. And since none of us had ever been there before, we were all excited to try something new.

We were seated at one of the larger tables against a wall, and it gave us a chance to settle in, order drinks (a Thai tea for me and a young coconut juice for my friend next to me) and take a good look around. The restaurant wasn't exactly bustling with customers, but we were there for a pretty early lunch on a Sunday. As I mentioned before, it's a small, casual space. Nothing fancy or new/modern. But apparently, Lemongrass had opened 20 years ago, and if a restaurant is in business for that long...they're obviously doing something right.

We ordered quite a few things, eager to try out the menu, but I only snapped photos of what I actually got to taste. On my side of the table, we started off with the Chicken Satay with peanut sauce and Crispy Calamari with sweet and sour sauce. Between the two, I liked the calamari best. These weren't tiny little rings of calamari, either. The pieces were huge. I loved the tender calamari with the crunchy, but not-too-heavy breading and the tangy dipping dauce.

For one of our entree options, we ordered the "Pad Ta Lay", which was a combination of scallops, prawns, calamari, and mussels with green beans, basil, and lemon leaves. This dish was also cooked in a hot chili sauce. I really liked the seafood with all of the crisp vegetables, and there was just enough of a spicy kick.

We also got one of my top-top favorites...pad thai! This is my go-to dish when I'm trying out a new Thai restaurant. If they get the pad thai right, I'm usually sold. And their version was delicious!

Last but not least, we also had one of the vegetarian options: sauteed eggplant with tofu, garlic chili sauce, and basil. This is another of my favorite dishes. I love eggplant. And as I was happily taking a bite, I noticed a theme with our food: everything tasted fresh, not overly greasy or heavy. I was able to go back for seconds...and thirds...

Finally, dessert! The original plan was to head to Loving Cup for some frozen yogurt, but when I saw the mango and sticky rice on the menu, I knew I'd be having dessert right there in Lemongrass. Their version was a little extra sweet, but still tasty with the juicy and slightly tart mangoes.

Overall, my friends and I had a really great, relaxed lunch. Good service. Good food. So if you're ever in the Russian Hill neighborhood, and find yourself walking down Polk St, look for the dark green awning and double glass doors. Lemongrass Thai Cuisine is definitely worth a try!