Oh Lan’s, why’d you have to pull a fast one on us and change? It’s been quite some time since my last visit to the popular Vietnamese/Thai restaurant (over a year now) but wow, how things have changed. Lan’s Asian Grill is still located in the same grungy, ghetto strip mall (which is part of their charm) but fuggetabout having real plates and cutlery to eat with. It’s changed from being a restaurant to a cafeteria/take out business.
Your meal is served to you on a cafeteria tray and your cutlery is of the plastic variety. I’m all for saving money but really Lan’s? Can’t be good for the environment either. The good thing to take out of all this is that the food is still tasty. It’s just too bad the vibe/atmosphere is seriously lacking.
Thai green curry with chicken ($12.00) with coconut rice ($2.00 extra)
In hindsight, I chould have just stuck with jasmine rice as the green curry is soup-like and everything is combined together into one disposable plastic container. The curry came out piping hot (careful not to burn your tongue!) and it was flavourful. It came with the usual vegetables (bamboo shoots, red peppers and zucchini) but it was lacking a satisfying amount of veggies. Overall, tasty dish but they scrimped on the vegetables and rice.
Vegetable rolls ($8.75)
Three choices to choose from (shrimp, chicken or vegeteable). We went veggie style. Honestly, pretty ordinary. I’d skip it and try something else.
Pad thai ($14.00)
Noodles, sprouts, green onions, tofu bites, egg and topped with roasted peanuts. We ordered it hot (third option on their spicy level) and it had a nice kick to it. Lan’s pad thai leans on the sweet side of things. Comparing it to other Thai places in town, there are better ones and cheaper to boot. Plus, I still can’t get over how everything comes in take out containers.
Cashew stir-fry and jasmine rice ($11.50)
Cashew nut, chicken, red peppers and onion over a bed of jasmine rice. Again, pretty basic flavour-wise but hey, at least this dish is better priced for what they give you.
Lan’s has simplified things and gone back to the basics (hello Christina Aguilera album). One page of dishes and another for appetizers/drinks. Tom, the man working the front, is very sociable and friendly. It seems like he knows and remembers everyone’s names which is top notch, but I still prefer how things were back in the day.
Make note – only open 11:00am to 7:30pm (Monday – Friday). I gave it a second shot but am just not a big fan anymore.
Lan’s Asian Grill
11828 – 103 Street