Arloi Dee recently won the Best in Taste award for their chicken lettuce wraps. Since I work around the corner, I had to try them– and, of course, dragged a coworker with me. It’s a favorite Thai stop for me– a little more expensive than Chan’s Asian Wok, but nice for a “business” lunch.
Andy and I headed to Arloi Dee a day or two after their big win at Taste. It wasn’t packed– we went a little early on a Friday afternoon; anytime after 12 is a lot busier, and so is Mason Montgomery.
The menu is varied– they have everything from very good Bulgogi to Thai dishes, to some traditional Chinese-style dishes. I nearly always get Pad Thai, which I did today (and Andy did as well– I guess we’re Thai soul siblings or something). The nice thing about lunchtime is you get a “lunch special”, which is your entree plus a salad or egg drop soup, for around $8. It’s a pretty decent deal, particularly because the food is so fantastic. I chose the salad, which is covered in a vinegar-heavy, sweet dressing. I like tart dressings, so I like it quite a bit. If you’re not into vinegar, you might not like this dressing. It’s a basic iceberg salad, but a nice start to the meal.
I don’t order my pad thai very spicy– a 3, at the most. At a lot of places, this will render the dish nearly tasteless, but at Arloi Dee, there is still a depth of flavor, but just a little spice. Perfect. Your choices for protein are tofu, shrimp, chicken, beef or pork– I chose shrimp, which were plump and tender (not rubbery at all) and Andy got chicken (which he didn’t complain about, so I will assume it was good. He also cleaned his plate, which I take as a sign of satisfaction).
We didn’t get the lettuce wraps as an appetizer. Well, that’s incorrect– we ordered them as an appetizer, but they came out with the entrees, so the timing wasn’t fantastic, but the wraps themselves were good. The flavor was unexpected– I had expected the slightly bitter, water-chestnut heavy flavor of PF Chang’s, but instead these were slightly sweet and mostly chicken. Both Andy and I really liked them. As we were eating, the chef came out and talked to all of the tables, and announced that these were the “Best Dish!” She was very proud– and she should be. I’m not convinced it’s the “Best Damn Dish” in Cincinnati, but they are pretty tasty.
I didn’t try this dish at Taste– I’m not sure how it would hold up– but I would definitely order it again.