The menu claims a curry spicing, but this was too faint to be noticed; cucumber reappeared as a condiment, this time cubed and tossed with slivered red onions in a vinaigrette more tart than sweet.
Big dishes feature lots of vegetables, even when the advertised ingredient is some sort of flesh. The firecracker sizzling seafood hot plate ($12.95) fajitas, Thai-style included a wealth of broccoli florets, green beans, and strips of green bell pepper (lots of green!) in addition to shrimp, squid, scallops, and crab claws. Wok-fried chicken breast ($9.95) added red bell peppers to the green, and also basil, with its distinctive peppery perfume. Prawns with cashew nuts ($10.95) offered a pleasant crunchiness along with yet more green beans and bell peppers, this time in a sauce that tasted largely of soy.
Considering the congestion and pace at noon, the food is notably polished. A quick set lunch ($10.95) opened with two skewers of tender-grilled beef, along with mildly spicy peanut sauce to dunk them in, and finished with an excellent red-duck curry. (The poultry appeared in its coconut-milk bath as boneless slices still in morning coats of gold-roasted skin.) And grilled pork ($10.95), presented as strips of meat with sticky rice and mango salad, was juicy enough not to need peanut sauce. But most impressive were the po sod ($7.50), a trio of fresh spring rolls like little bells, filled with shrimp, mint leaves, and rice noodles and no monkey business with the deep fryer! *
KOH SAMUI AND THE MONKEY
Dinner: Sun.Thurs., 510 p.m.; Fri.Sat., 510:30 p.m. Lunch: Mon.Sat., 11 a.m.3 p.m.
415 Brannan, SF
Beer, wine, sake
Noisy if full