Monsoon a restaurant not to be missed

February 21, 2014 

You’ve probably driven by this little spot on Ga. 247 many times and seen many different incarnations of dining establishments come and go. This one’s a keeper.

I’ve reviewed at least two other restaurants in this same location and it has never looked as good as it does now. It’s spotless, the artwork is simple and lovely, and there is a peacefulness that adds to the dining experience.

The food is the real star though. I’ve had plenty of good Thai food -- in this area and beyond -- but this is some of the finest I’ve ever had. The ingredients are fresh and expertly combined, the quantity is ample without being overwhelming, and the heat is just enough to be exciting without overshadowing the taste of the rest of the dish.

We started with chicken satay with the traditional peanut and cucumber sauce, four skewers for $4.50; and spring rolls, two very large ones for $4. The rolls are loosely stuffed rice papers filled with fried tofu, cilantro, mint, lettuce, carrots and vermicelli, also served with a peanut sauce.

It’s hard to go wrong with pad Thai, the rice noodle and peanut dish that almost everyone loves. This one is no exception, with a creamy texture and tender but firm noodles. Another classic Thai dish, the tom yum soup is fragrant with lemongrass and galangaland limes, with a slight heat from the crushed chili peppers. Next time I’m sick, this is the soup I want.

Their signature fried rice dish on the Vietnamese menu features shrimp, Asian sausage and barbecued pork and is very filling. It would be an easy introduction for someone not so sure about foreign foods. The chef’s specialty, pla duk pad phet, contains fried fish fillets among onions, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, eggplant and sweet basil in a chili paste. At $16, this is among a handful of dishes that is considerably more expensive than the others.

Almost all the dishes are customized with your choice of meat, and the price varies based on whether you choose beef, pork or seafood, etc. You can also get lunch servings for dinner, perfect for trying lots of different things with friends. There are also several Vietnamese bun dishes, grilled meats and pho that we just didn’t have room to try this time.

Before you go, make sure to experience their coffee. They bring a Vietnamese phin coffee brewer to your table, set atop a cup containing condensed milk. After about five minutes, gravity has brewed your coffee in front of you and just a stir produces a lovely cup of Vietnamese coffee, available hot or cold.

This is one restaurant not to be missed. I look forward to coming back very soon.

Monsoon Thai & Vietnamese Restaurant

Address: 85 Ga. 247, Warner Robins

Phone: 478-293-1260

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 4:30-9 p.m. Saturday

Website: www.facebook.com/monsoonrestaurant31088?ref=stream

Payment: Cash, credit

Smoking: No

Alcohol: No

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: Low

Health Rating: 100

Price range: $5.95-$17

Rating: 4 stars

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