Kanomwan, located at 736 1/2 Telephone Road re-opened for business July 8th. I went for dinner last night with a couple of friends. I was saddened to learn in early June that the restaurant was closed due to the sudden loss of the owner, Houston's beloved "Thai Nazi". I should think all patrons were told "Too hot for you" at least once, if not more often while he worked the front. Although it's not the same experience without him, Kanomwan still brings it. As an added bonus - it is BYOB (somehow, the HoustonPress completely overlooked it. This is perhaps an anomaly? They thought it was shut?).
We were three dainty ladies, armed with a bottle of each color wine. In my book, there are two types of wine, one is red and the other one is not pink. Yeah, I know, I am a "rose-ist"; I've had very nice rose wines - but they are as elusive to me as the bloom on Lois the Corpse Flower. I have made two trips to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see that stinky girl in bloom; she will not bloom for me. Had I not left my bottle of grape on the kitchen bar, we might have been rowdy by the end of the evening.
We ordered a large S1 (Tom Yum Goong), an H1 Beef (Pad Ka Pao), a PPK Chicken (Pad Prig King) and "the fried shrimp", or Goong Lard Prig. First to arrive was the large vat of soup and an equally large bowl of rice. The soup had a very respectable amount of shrimp (or prawn, potato/potahto) and straw mushrooms in a very well balanced spicy/sour broth. I have had Tom Yom Gai, made with chicken, coconut milk, lemongrass, yadda yadda at a lot of places, and it's often mentioned in reviews of Kanomwan. That being said, I have a new love and its name is Tom, Tom Yum(my) Goong. I am "Mare today, Goong tomorrow". Ironically, Goong, I think, refers to "shrimp" and I'm, well, not a shrimp - I am crazy tall. The other dish I fell in love with, ironically has "lard" in its name - the Goong Lard Prig, or fried shrimp. They are about the size of 16-20 count shrimp, perhaps a touch larger and arrive in a delicate, crispy tempura-style batter. The fried shrimp float on a pond of spicy-citrus sauce that is perfect for the delicate sweetness of the shrimp. The crunch stays with these bad boys. The hottest of the lot was the beef Pad Ka Pao, it bears a slight resemblance to taco meat, visually. Otherwise, this dish marches to the beat of it's own drum. I didn't find it to be "too hot", but, I don't mind breaking a capsaicin sweat. The Chicken Pad Prig King consisted of thinly sliced white meat chicken in a red curry sauce with wee green beans. Moderately hot, in my book, the crunch of the green beans set the dish off.
Our cashier really made the evening, I was too charmed to ask for clarification, but, I believe he's family. He was wonderfully polite, knew his way around the register, counting change and working the credit card machine. I suspect he's under the age of 16, however, he was not unsupervised and he appeared to be working on homework in between customers. I will be a regular fixture from here on out. The last time I dined at Kanomwan, it was in the old location and the last stop on a bachelorette party. You know, I recall it being very good, and I recall being told by the owner what I could have. I have no recollection of being able to actually "read" the menu...but, in my defense I was a child of 29-ish. Plus, we had a driver and one of those big honking passenger vans - I am not to be blamed for my behavior.
Next time, I won't forget the damned wine, although we had plenty. I hope to be in similar company, if not the same. After all, who orders Pad Thai out? Not one of us, that's who! Make that at home! Bring your sense of gastronomic adventure to Kanomwan, you're definitely in for a joy ride.
736 1/2 Telephone Road
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (Monday - Saturday)
Dinner: 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (Tuesday - Saturday)
Closed on Sunday
P.S. (that sounds so, like 7th grade, p.p.s.) The cost was extremely reasonable, as we spice girls could not finish everything and tax, title and license totaled $17.95 per person, plus gratuity. Not too shabby!
Photo captured by my crackberry - really, I am getting a "big girl" camera, really.