It's midday at the attractive new Lemongrass Thai & Chinese Restaurant in Oceanside. And the place has me at the tom kha gai.
So often, the Thai chicken coconut soup turns out to be cloying, flowery. And filled with tough, stringy pieces of chicken. The version here, though, gets the classic Thai balance of sweet-sour-salty-spicy just right. And, on top of that, the sliced chicken is ultra-tender.
Less successful are spicy coconut noodles that are both over-sweet and overcooked. But a properly complex and herbal version of spicy basil shrimp sets all to right. And the restaurant offers a first-rate version of the Chinese classic moo goo gai pan, or chicken with vegetables.
Service, while courteous, can be a bit slow. But that's not such a terrible thing on a lazy summer afternoon.
Lunch specials, which include soup or soda, run $5.95 to $9.25
Lemongrass Thai & Chinese Restaurant is at 2710 Long Beach Rd., Oceanside