I just had possibly the worst take-out experience I've had since blogging about restaurants. I wasn't planning on writing about my dinner at Lanxang Lao-Thai Cuisine on Commercial near Kuebler but the experience was so frustrating and disappointing I thought it should be known. Lanxang is a small restaurant that can seat maybe forty customers, based on an unofficial seat count that I did while waiting for my food. Every one of those seats was filled when I walked in to order some food to go. I wasn't expecting to be served quickly, especially since it looked like only three people were working. One of those three was doing take-out, answering phones, waiting and bussing tables. After placing my order, the gentleman at the counter estimated it would take 40 minutes to prepare our food. No problem, I thought, I'm a patient person and I was happy to see a local restaurant doing well in a tough economy. If I'd have known it was going to take an hour and twenty five minutes to finally be served, I would have canceled my order before it was sent back to the kitchen. At least I didn't make the mistake of dining in. The restaurant full of patrons, sat patiently as the trio of overwhelmed restaurant staff struggled to keep up with demand. I was surprised that no one spoke up to complain about what was going on. People sat frowning as they looked over the restaurant full of other unhappy customers and unbussed tables. The poor guy running the counter was actually running to take care of customers growing list of needs. What really made my blood boil was when I saw take-out containers sitting on a counter for up to fifteen minutes before it was placed in a bag with the rest of the order. When I finally got my order, I was going to ask for a discount but I didn't want to slow down the operation for the rest of the customers. Needless to say the quality of our food was poor and cold by the time it reached our mouths. This may have been an unusually busy night, but having one person run a take-out counter and be expected to serve a restaurant of forty people is ridiculous. It's especially disappointing to see this lack of service since there are so many Oregonians out of work these days. To the owners of Lanxang, if you are reading this blog, go down to the Oregon Employment Department at 605 Cottage Street NE and put up an ad for a server to help out. Your customers will thank you for it. You can also place and ad online if you click here.
Reviewed by Salem Man 1/14/08
Am I the only one whose noticed that some of the most interesting color schemes and furniture design can be found in Thai restaurants. Lanxang Lao-Thai Cuisine in the Applebee's shopping center at Commercial and Kuebler is no exception to this observation. The green interior of the restaurant is a color that I have never seen on the on walls before. In the drab climate of the Northwest, it's refreshing to walk into a place that you'll need sunglasses inside. I've eaten at Lanxang a few times now, mostly for take out. For Thai food it's pretty good. On this visit, I had the #21, Lanxang Beef which I really liked and there was enough for leftovers the next day. It's a spicy beef stir fry with onions, tomatoes and green beans served in a special Lanxang sauce. Pour it over some rice and you have a nice lunch. Also try the #6 Keng Som (Tom Yum) which is a hot and sour soup that can be made to your desired spiciness. They usually ask you how spicy, on a scale between 1 and 5. I always say 3 to be on the safe side. My experience with their Pad Thai is that it's on the dry side so I've stopped ordering it. The prices here are very reasonable, $8.50 for most of the chicken, beef or pork entrees and $9.50 for prawn or squid. We've ordered take out from here because the place is a bit uncomfortable. There's usually a table or two that hasn't been bussed in awhile. They seem to be understaffed in the dining room. I've only seen one guy waiting tables and taking phone orders. It doesn't matter though, I've never seen more than a few tables of customers even on a weekend night. In the take out waiting area they have a messy stack of newspapers spilling over a table in the corner. It's kind of an eyesore right in the middle of the restaurant. Above the newspaper table is a large television where they play Asian pop music videos. It's actually really cool. The music is like nothing I've ever heard or seen, it kind of goes with well with the atmosphere. This has become our favorite Thai place in town since Siam went out of business, even though we never dine in.