Splendor in the 'Grass

Print It's always fun to happen across an interesting Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese restaurant, but that pleasure can be multiplied at Lemongrass Cafe (1019 Bardstown Road, 238-3981). This storefront eatery serves up excellent Pacific Rim tastes, some with recognizable names, some without. The latter group most captivates me.

Sure, the pad thai ($7.25) is first-rate but move over to the curry section for a real adventure. The gaeng keo waan ($7.75) is my favorite thus far. Stir-fried bell peppers, green beans and chicken come submerged in a rich-vibrant broth of coconut milk, lime, basil and green curry paste (it is also served with beef or pork). A cup of perfectly cooked jasmine rice comes on the side. The subtle body heat generated by good curry is part of the allure of this somewhat mysterious culinary genre.

The yum nua ($6.95) also is a standout (though I preferred the version made at the Pewee Valley Lemongrass, which unfortunately closed this winter). A stire-fried bl/files/storyimages/of grilled, sliced beef is served over chopped lettuce that's wilted by a slightly sweet but not-too-sour sauce. Be sure to bl/files/storyimages/tastes of the cilantro, cucumber and tomato slice garnishes for maximum impact. The mi xao don ($6.75) combines stir-fri/files/storyimages/pork and vegetables served atop a nest of crispy egg noodles. (Diner's hint: Let the noodles baste a few minutes in the light ginger sauce to make them fork-tender)

As you can see, adventurous palates will be rewarded here, and Lemongrass is a real bargain, as either lunch or dinner for two can be easily obtained for $15 or $20. The menu is online at ://www.lemongrass.us
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