All in the Family- Lan’s Asian Grill
Recently, looking for somewhere new to try out, Robyn and I decided to browse through the reviews on YELP. We wanted something inexpensive, and given the frigid temperatures of the day, something warm and comforting. And we found just that.
Located in a strip-mall on 118 ave at 103 st. in a neighbourhood not typically known for great eateries, Lan’s is a simply decorated, friendly, family run operation with a straight to the point menu.
My kind of place.
A lot of reviews referred to the owner, Tom, and his outgoing friendliness. Robyn and I experienced this immediately upon entering the restaurant. Tom, who owns the eatery with his sister Monica, explained that they wanted to focus on making good, quality food, while reducing the fat and calories wherever reasonably possible.
Whoa, whoa, whoa there big fella. That sounds suspiciously like the calling card of every bland, boring dish I ever ate. After debating telling him to march right back there and put that fat back in, Tom assured me that I was going to love the food.
He was right.
We started the feast with a green onion cake.
I have to admit, I am no green onion cake aficionado. In fact I generally believe that dense, stodgy pancakes filled with green onions are better used to prop up an uneven table leg or to put a drink on rather that being passed off as sustenance. But the layered, flakey dough at Lan’s could actually make me a convert. And when you dip it in the accompanying sweet chili sauce I would actually say it’s…. gasp…. good! I certainly prefer these pan fried dough style to the pan fried batter style.
Of course no Asian meal for me is complete without some crispy fried springrolls. These ones were super crisp, and came with the same sweet chili dipping sauce.
Robyn decided on a Cashew Chicken Stirfry for her entree. Loaded with moist, tender chicken, onions, peppers, and cashews, it had just a hint of spice and hit the spot for her perfectly.
Despite the rave reviews for the Pad Thai, I opted for the Spicy Green Curry Stew. Heat level: HOT.
Spicy? Oh yeah.
Although the consistency reminded me more of soup than stew (and who cares really, as long as it tastes good) it bulked up nicely when you added in the delicious coconut rice. The flavour was intense and creamy, but what I really liked was that when you ask for hot, it’s actually hot. And not just the kind of hot that someone who hates spicy food would find hot either. I mean it made a seasoned curry junkie like myself sweat profusely. Just the thing for a blustery, snowy night in Edmonton.
Given the quality of food and service at Lan’s, it’s easy to see why this family eatery has gained such a loyal following in an area that normally wouldn’t inspire people to visit. It just goes to show that when you offer great value and friendliness, word gets around fast.