I was so glad to be introduced to Pestle Rock Isan Thai in Ballard (thanks IC)!
This was not the every day Thai restaurant we encountered.
I asked the cook what “Isan” meant, and she told me that it was the Northern part of Thailand.
The foods were delicious and uniquely represented the northern region of Thailand.
I had not “studied” a Thai restaurant menu as intensely ever as the one at Pestle Rock.
When I read the menu, every dish looked a little familiar and a little different — whether it was in the ingredients, or in the spices they used.
My girlfriend and I pigged out.
There was just too many new dishes to try — it boiled down to that we had to go back with more friends!
My favorite was the special coconut fried rice, Yum Kao Rod. It was one of those amazing sensorial experience.
The coconut rice was crispy, as if each rice granule was fried, baked or crisped but not too much that we knew it was still rice.
Every bite was burst with flavors of ginger, galangal and other aromatics.
It was also tossed with coconut flakes for another crisper harder dimension.
I had never seen this dish serve in any other Thai restaurant and it was just a wonderful treat!
Next we tried the Thai sausage.
It was SO hot!!!
Tender, soft meat with fresh spices and herbs.
My friend had to get Thai ice tea and I was toughing it out with water!
We also had soup which was similar to Tom Yum but with pork ribs and potatoes.
It was flavorful and the meat fell off the bones.
Not only that we decided to go for dessert — even though our stomachs were stretched to their limit — we went for 2 desserts!
We could not decide which one of the desserts we wanted more since both were rare!
First one was grilled coconut sticky rice with black bean and either banana or taro.
We opted for taro.
The taro flavor was very mild and the coconut sticky rice was unsweetened, chewy and carried the sweet beany flavor of black beans.
The addition of coconut flakes added crispiness and dryness to the otherwise moist and gooey rice.
This dessert had an excellent play with texture.
Then we had the egg custard with sticky rice.
This dessert took some getting used to.
The egg custard was very soft, very sweet steamed egg that laid on top of the mildly coconut flavored sticky rice.
On top of that was fried shallots, pungent and oniony.
I had such a strong association of shallots with savory food that it was difficult for me to make the switch for this dessert.
I will most certainly return for the coconut fried rice and the many more dishes they had to offer!!