Until last week, I always equated the Lahaina establishment Bamboo with pool playing and taking late-night shots I would later regret. Little did I know it has a pretty impressive lunch and dinner menu of Thai-Vietnamese food. After surfing Breakwall the other day, I went in and experienced the softer—and spicier—side of Bamboo at lunch time.
I sat with a friend at the bar and checked out the menu, which changed a few months ago after the restaurant got a new owner. Though nothing more than a folded yellow laminated sheet, its contents insinuated a lot of flavor behind those kitchen doors.
Bamboo offers Asian-style appetizers like calamari, chicken sate, and wontons for between $5.95 and $9.95. Special noodle dishes include classics like Pad Thai, Chow Fun BBQ pork, and a variety of crispy noodles for between $9 and $11. Special entrees feature chicken, pork, shrimp, and vegetables prepared in different curries, barbecue and peanut sauces and also run modestly between $8 and $10.
After serious deliberation, my friend decided on the $8 special of the day, Lemongrass chicken with onion and bell pepper, known to Asian linguists as Ga Xao Xa. Feeling vegetable-deprived, I ended up ordering the tofu pad thai. While it sounded more to me like something a chiropractor uses than food, the dish was a tantalizing tangle of rice noodles replete with stir-fried egg, green onion, bean sprouts, and a zesty peanut sauce. Armed with chopsticks, we dug into our eastern cuisine.
I shared home-cooked Thai meals with close friends from Bangkok all throughout last year and have designated this ethnic cooking as my favorite. Thus my standards for Thai food are very high, yet I was still pleased with the eats at Bamboo. Lo and behold, my favorite item there is no longer a Jagerbomb!
We enjoyed, but not quite finished, our dishes as we watched Andre Agassi fight his way to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Bamboo’s large-screen plasma TV. I always appreciate watching others’ physical exertion while relaxing in the air-conditioned luxury of a restaurant. Later we biked home with full stomachs and gratitude for the Thai-Vietnamese penetration into American cuisine that exists just a few blocks from our house.
The service was very friendly and quick. If you’re in the area and hungry, stop by for some noodles or curry. It’s always fun to jump out of the water and come be surrounded by the local commotion down on south Front Street. Dining at Bamboo was like seeing it through new eyes, and drove up 505’s stock considerably. MTW