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From the Kids' Table: Crofton Lemongrass

This week our junior foodies give Crofton Lemongrass a chance at redemption. Has the new management team at the Thai restaurant turned the service issues around? Check out what the monkeys have to say

Lemongrass Crofton

2225 Defense Highway

Crofton, MD 21114

Tel: 410.721.1111

Facebook: Lemongrass-Crofton

www.kapowgroup.com

Thai food has become one of our family's favorite cuisines and something that I introduced to the kids at a very young age. When Lemongrass first opened in Crofton over three years ago, it was on our regular hit list of restaurants. But in the next few years, the service at the Crofton location dropped off dramatically and we stopped visiting Lemongrass except for the occasional take-out run.

On a whim last week (maybe it was the new giant Siamese cats standing outside), we decided to give Lemongrass one more try. Perhaps the giant cats were sending out a message, but the restaurant just recently came under new management. And what a difference! Check out what the monkeys think of the new and improved Crofton Lemongrass.

Food

Monkey #1: Entree: Grilled Salmon (A filet of salmon with grilled vegetables with the mild black bean, mushroom, ginger sauce.)

The spring rolls are nice and crispy. The lettuce wrap is kind of spicy. It was my favorite. It’s lettuce that you can fill with this meat and vegetables. It looks like a lettuce taco or sort of a a lettuce burrito. When you bite it, it’s nice, crunchy and crispy. The grilled salmon is OK because it was a little overdone and it was a little crispy but overall its food was pretty good. Note: try the Salmon it’s pretty good.  And you can call if you want to take home the yumminess! Call now!

Monkey #2: Entree: Asparagus Shrimp (Shrimp sauteed with fresh asparagus in a light garlic sauce.)

The food was great. It tastes really good. Because my shrimp and asparagus tasted excellent! And the lettuce wraps were so good. They remind me of burritos because they are stuffed, but they are wrapped in lettuce. I think some of the food is a little spicy, but not too spicy. There are things I can eat that aren’t even spicy. Mine (the shrimp with asparagus) wasn’t spicy at all. 

Mom: Entree: Green Curry (Green curry with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, eggplant, and basil leaves. Choice of beef,chicken or pork.)

The menu has remained the same, but now with a Thai chef running the kitchen, the food definitely has a more homestyle taste and look to it. It was wonderful! The vegetables were cooked to a perfect crsipness and not drowned in sauce. The flavors were spot on and all of our dishes were delicious. Those who have gone in the past may notice some differences in some of their favorite dishes, but the authentic flavors and cooking style of this Thai kitchen will win over those not looking for an overly commercial dining experience. My favorite Lemongrass dishes have always been the Crispy Asparagus appetizer and the Spicy Eggplant, but this particular night I was craving the Green Curry.  While it was a little different than what I remembered, I actually enjoyed the dish throroughly. I thought the balance between the heat of the thai spices and the amazing flavors was perfectly done and I didn't find myself breathing fire at the end of the meal. (Please note. This is still a fairly spicy dish! Those who have trouble with hot foods, will probably want to steer clear.) There are plenty of options on the menu for those who don't want a spicy meal and many of these make perfect options for little guys who aren't quite ready for something so hot. Plus, most dishes come with a variety of vegetables, so a great way to get some healthy foods on to everyone's plates!

I was also really impressed by Monkey #2's order. The shrimp were beautiful and much larger than I expected. I found myself snagging bites off her plate when she wasn't looking.

Service

Monkey #1:

Its service is great. It has really improved a lot because the last time the waiters weren’t that good. We had to wait soooooo long. This time when we went it was really good. All of the people who work there are very nice.

Monkey #2:  

We met two managers. They are really nice. The people who served us were so nice and it was nice that we got to talk to them. They treat kids really nicely. Because if kids bump into them, they say I’m sorry.

Mom:

Over the last couple of years, I had been so disappointed in the level of service, that we stopped eating at the restaurant. The servers had become consistently distracted, disinterested and somewhat rude, and it made for a negative dining experience. But what a difference a new managment team makes!

We noticed a difference immediately! So much so, that I actually asked to speak with the manager to comment on how pleasant our experience was. That is when I learned of the change in management and the new team's excitement at bringing Crofton back to their tables. For those who had stopped going based on similar experiences, I recommend giving this new management team a try. You'll find the current staff pleasant, knowledgable and focused on ensuring every member of your party has a good experience. I was appreciative of how they took the kids seriously and made recommendations for their orders.

Atmosphere

Monkey#1:

I love the play place. It’s so fun when I left I was out of breath.  The restaurant is a little dim. Their music is very cool. It looks very cool. There is one room where the doorways look like keyholes. And the Siamese cats outside are very tall. And cool. The play area has some soccer balls, a chalkboard, but there are no erasers so you can’t erase anything.

Monkey#2:

There is a golden elephant that kids will really like. There is a play room now. The play room is really fun because kids can play with other kids that are going there. They didn’t used to have a play room, but now they do.  At the door there are giant cats.

Mom:

I must admit that I got a kick out of the giant siamese cats at the door and they were probably 50% of the reason we stopped in that night. The restaurant has a more finished look to it now and the dining areas are organized more logically. The play area was a wonderful surprise even if the overhead light in that area wasn't working. While parents will enjoy the opportunity to let the kids play while waiting for dinner or perhaps finishing their coffee, I imagine the space will present challenges on busier nights. A woman was seated next to the area, and I was conscious of how loud it was even with just my two little guys in there. I reminded them to be respectul of her dining experience, but imagine with more kids in there that it would be a little more chaotic.

Why will kids like it?

Monkey #1:

Because of the play place. It is very fun. And their food is better than those frozen Chinese foods at the grocery store.  

Monkey #2:

The people are so very nice. They say I’ll be serving you for today. And they have good luck cats. But only one is a good luck cat but we don’t know which one. It’s a mystery! ?? Kids should try it cause if you are a kid that doesn’t try new things, you might like it and not even know it. So just try it.

Mom: 

Giant siamese cats and a play area. Need I say more? Plus, there are a number of tasty, non-spicy options to order for kids. Talk to the staff if you are concerned with the level of heat. There are simple accomodations they can make to ensure you have an enjoyable and tasty dining experience.

Why will Parents like it?

Monkey #1:

Because they make their vegetables yummy.

Monkey #2:

Yeah, I got nothing.

Mom:

It is possible to go out with the kids and still feel like you are going somewhere special. The decor and food selections combine for a nice night out for everyone.

What would you tell kids that are nervous about trying new foods?

Monkey #1:

If you think something wouldn’t taste good, you should ask your server what other kids usually get. They might have good ideas for you

Monkey #2:

Kids should try it cause if you are kid that doesn’t try new things, you might like it and not even know it. So just try it.

 

Adventurous Eater Tip of the Week

Parents, don't be a slave to the "kid's menu" at restaurants. Unfortunately, most places equate kids options with fried chicken or macaroni and cheese, with a side of fries. (or fried rice!) No wonder our kids don't explore other foods! Get off the kids menu and split an entree from the main menu between two kids. Go ahead and order them a salad to split as an appetizer. And make recommendations to restaurant managers on dishes that can be added to their preset kids options.

Great kid-friendly options from the Lemongrass menu:

  • Ginger perfect chicken or pork
  • Lad Na (chicken, beef or pork in a light brown sauce served over wide rice noodles)
  • Asparagus Shrimp
  • Chicken Satay

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

DBCrofton October 22, 2011 at 01:24 PM
They've lost this customer. Last 3 visits were terrible. Take-out Chicken Pad Thai: no peanuts, no lime and where's the chicken (and this was just last week). We enjoyed Lemongrass since its opening, but something miraculous must occur before I go again.
Foodie Family October 24, 2011 at 12:01 AM
@DBCrofton- Don't blame you. One of the best ways to lose us as a customer, is for us to get all the way home and not have everything we were supposed to. If you do decide to give Lemongrass a try again, I would call Brad who is the manager we spoke with. At the very least, they should try to make it up to for your take-out misfire.

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