Robin Garr wraps this week's review of NamNam Café with onomatopoeia and a little befuddlement about Asian fusion cuisine. He begins with some unneeded though interestingly phoneticized information about his wife's medical condition: "Hack-hack! Ker-CHOO! Cough! Snort!" Aw, kee-rap! Mary's got a cold, and it sounds like a monster." Frantically asking himself "What to do? What to do?", Garr debates driving to Indianapolis for "Jewish penicillin" from Shapiro's Delicatessen, finding Louisville "sadly limited in the kosher-style deli department." Garr decides that a take-out order of "Vietnamese penicillin … in the form of an oversize bowl of phò gà" might work, leading to what is possibly the world's most bizarre recommendation of NamNam Café:
A big bowl of chicken-noodle phò will set you back $8.50 at the inviting little NamNam Café in St. Matthews. Yeah, you can get a whole quart of Jewish chicken noodle at Shapiro's for $9. But figure the time and fuel spent for that four-hour round trip to Indy, and you've made the case for NamNam. What's more, as long as you're at NamNam anyway, you might as well settle in for a great Vietnamese meal. You're sure as heck not going to get that at Shapiro's!
Garr is also excited by NamNam's Vietnamese Tacos, asking "Whoever heard of Mexican-Vietnamese 'fusion'?" This may sadden NamNam's David Truong (who's had them on the menu for three years) and surprise The Cheesecake Factory (where they've been on the menu since at least 2010). But hopefully Mary benefited from the ethnic penicillin. [LEO Weekly]
Marty Rosen likes Thai Noodles from the moment he spies their sign with its "graceful font" and logo with nested bowls "angled like the eye of a cat," designed by owner Jesse Bovornthamajak. Bovornthamajak bought the Thai Noodles site from the owners of Thai Smile 5, which Rosen describes as "warm, cozy and comfortable."
The food is first class. On one recent visit, I started with chicken ginger rice soup — a gleaming golden bowl of healing broth with a bold aroma, slivers of fresh ginger, white meat chicken and tender rice, garnished with bright green shards of scallion ($2.95/$6.95). A sampler platter of appetizers ($7.95 for two, $14.95 for four) brought steamed dumplings that looked like castle turrets, stuffed with a savory minced chicken filling (also available as an a la carte appetizer, $4.95); skewered planks of tender marinated chicken satay ($5.95); spring rolls fried to a perfectly crisp, crunchy, grease-free finish ($3); fried pork dumplings with a big, herbal aroma ($3.50), and a couple of sauces (including a delightful peach sauce that was the perfect foil for the spring rolls).
Rosen thinks his Massaman curry with beef "carried all the smells and tastes of the ancient spice trade" and finds his plate of pad kee mao (drunken noodles) beautiful. He also raves about Thai Noodles' desserts, calling the coconut ice cream/sticky rice combination Samui Lamai "by far the best dessert I recall encountering in an Asian restaurant." [Courier-Journal]
· NamNam's version of chicken soup is certainly for the soul [LEO Weekly]
· NamNam Café [Official Site]
· Family-run Thai Noodles serves up first-class dishes [Courier-Journal]
· Thai Noodles [Official Site]
· All Eater Thai Noodles Coverage [~ELOU~]