I sampled some food from Lers Ros back at the Asian Heritage Festival last year. Although I can’t recall what exactly I ate, but I definitely remember it being pretty tasty. Pdho and I kept telling ourselves that we should go back and try some more of the menu, but considering its location in the heart of Little Saigon in the Tenderloin, we never ever got around to it. As it is, we really only head over to the Tenderloin when we’re craving pho (at Turtle Tower) or banh mi (at Saigon Sandwich), but we decided to break from the Vietnamese routine and went to have lunch at Lers Ros instead.
It was a clear but cold day in the city, so from the moment we walked in, it felt like a refrigerator. Whether they lacked heating or were too cheap to turn it on, the frigid air in the restaurant made it quite uncomfortable. It was even more annoying, because despite my repeated requests for them to close the windows, they wouldn’t! So there we sat, shivering the entire time throughout our meal.
Considering how cold of day it was, Pdho and I agreed that we needed a soup to start the meal, so we ordered the Tom Kha Kai soup which is coconut milk-based soup. Unfortunately, the soup didn’t hit the spot like I hoped it would. It tasted a little bit bland and lacked all the depth of flavors that you normally find with the mix of herbs, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. It basically tasted very watered down.
We ordered Pad See Ew with beef which is always a must-have for me when I go to Thai restaurants. Again, I was quite disappointed with this dish as well. Like the Tom Kha Kai soup, it lacked some flavor, but beyond that, I felt like the flavor that was in the dish just didn’t taste right. There was a pan-fried smokiness which I thought was good, but it lacked that distinct flavor which makes it pad see ew. I’m not sure what it is, maybe some fish sauce? I’m not sure, but it definitely fell flat.
The Pad Kra Prow Moo Krob had chunks of pork belly stir-fried with basil leaves and bell peppers. This was far and away the best dish of the meal, although admittedly, it probably did nothing to help me with my Fat Loss contest. The crispiness of the pork skin was fantastic, and the pork meat itself was pretty tender and juicy. It was quite a unique dish, and one that I’ve never had before. I would definitely recommend it as a must-order.
All in all, I was a bit disappointed by most of the meal, and the unpleasant cooler-box environment almost makes me lose faith completely in the restaurant. However, given that it was just Pdho and I trying a couple of the dishes from the hugely extensive menu, I might considering giving the restaurant another go. It probably won’t be awhile before I return, but I will likely be back. Hopefully, we’ll be able to try a few more dishes to get a better feel of the menu as a whole, before I hand down a final judgement.
730 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
PAFO Ratings for Lers Ros:
Price 2½ stars
Ambiance 2 stars
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3 stars