Last night, Chris and I had our annual “date night” to the school musical, which means we get to venture out of the city and look for someplace to eat out in Monroeville. This year, we settled on The Green Mango. There are apparently now three different locations for this restaurant: one in Regent Square that we visited years and years ago, one in Monroeville, and now one at the Waterfront, which is very exciting. We had a lovely meal and some excellent food–I don’t know why we haven’t frequented this place more often!
This particular outpost of the restaurant was small but cozy, with walls painted in orange and bright green, adorned with pictures and tapestries. The service was prompt and helpful. All of the servers seemed to share the work equally; we were helped by about three different people over the course of our meal, but they were all pleasant and got us whatever we needed, whether it be refills of water or bringing Chris another bowl of rice for his curry.
We started our meal out with somosas, which were perfectly folded into little wedges of wonderfulness. If you’re not familiar with somosas (I’ve also seen it spelled samosa), they are little triangles of thin, flaky dough, usually filled with slightly-curried mashed potatoes, peas, and occasionally other vegetables. These are then fried to a golden brown and served with some kind of sauce. The versions at Green Mango were deliciously seasoned and fried perfectly–crisp and golden without being oily or heavy. There was a little bit a sweetness, but also a bit of heat in the sauce. I couldn’t quite tell what the sauce was–the color was reminiscent of a sweet-and-sour sauce, but there was more heat and less cloying sweetness in this particular sauce. Whatever it was, it was a great start to the meal.
Our entrees came out before we were even finished with our appetizer, which might be my only complaint about the meal. We had even ordered the appetizers first, because we weren’t sure about our main courses yet, and they still overlapped. It was a small thing, but it would be my only complaint.
The food, however, was flavorful and made with care. Chris got the green curry, and though it was on the spicy end of his tolerance level, he greatly enjoyed it. (I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to spice, so I stayed away. I was too happy with my meal, anyway!) I got the pad thai. I know, it’s a little boring, seeing as I always get pad thai, but I also figure it’s a good benchmark. Since I’ve had it at just about every Thai restaurant, it’s my way of gauging the quality of each place. Or maybe that’s just how I justify it to myself. Either way, they did an excellent job with it.
First of all, they were very willing to work with me. I requested no bean sprouts at all, and asked for both vegetables and chicken (the normal option is just one or the other). They were happy to accommodate and only charged me an extra dollar for the vegetables. Second, the flavor was delicious. Sometimes pad thai can taste either artificial or overly peanutty, and this was neither. It was wonderfully balanced. The vegetables–a lot of carrots, some cabbage, and a few stay green beans and florets of broccoli–were cooked to a lovely al dente, and the noodles were the perfect texture as well. Finally, the chicken was one of my favorite parts. In some restaurants, they shred the chicken into pieces and toss it in the sauce–the sauce itself may be great, but the chicken is relying on the sauce for any of its flavor. Not so here. The chicken was clearly marinated or seasoned, grilled, and sliced (against the grain, of course, for maximum tenderness) into thin strips. This gave it its own flavor which complemented the sauce. It sounds like such a small detail, but it really rounded out the dish.
Overall, a great dining experience. We’ll certainly have to check out the one at the Waterfront more often, now that we know they exist. While I’d love to go back and try something else, I would have a hard time not ordering the same thing again!