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Inside Earl Ninsom's Langbaan, Open Behind PaaDee

[Avila, 3/15/14]

Entering Langbaan feels like being "in" on a secret: The 24-seat, back-room restaurant is hidden behind Thai hotspot PaaDee, safely tucked away behind a heavy door designed to look like a bookcase. Here now, a look inside Earl Ninsom's new tasting-menu-only restaurant, which in actuality offers a vibe that's less "exclusive clubhouse" and more attuned to "back of house" dining, the phrase from which Langbaan gets its name.

As previously reported, the restaurant will focus solely on Thai tasting menus cooked up by Ninsom and a rotating line-up of chefs, including Duangduan Tattaruji, Amporn Khayanha, and Nahm alum Rassmee Ruaysantia. The menu changes each week (with two menu options, at $40 and $60 price points), and each is broken down into sections for snacks, soup, salad, main course, and desserts, totaling at least 12 different dishes at the lower price point.

This weekend's menu, for example, features roasted duck soup with young coconut meat and lotus root; Thai-style yellowtail amberjack ceviche; and main courses like muu, sai, lin yaang (grilled pork shoulder, tongue, and intestine served with tamarind dipping sauce) and goong pan aoii (sugar-cane wrapped shrimp). The additional $20 supplement nets two additional dishes: a Maine lobster salad with Asian pennywort, rambutan, and Thai herbs, and a Dungeness crab and turmeric curry. A trio of desserts ranges from kanom-tuay (pandanus and salted coconut milk custard) to thong-ake, rice flour dumplings flecked with gold leaf.

Bartender-about-town Alan Akwai curates the optional beverage pairings, which this week, feature wines from France, Germany, and the Willamette Valley. Langbaan is open now, offering two seatings — at 6p.m. and 8:30p.m. — from Thursday through Saturday. During its off hours, the Langbaan space plays host to other chefs' pop-ups and occasional cooking classes.
· Langbaan [Official site]
· All Previous Langbaan Coverage [Eater PDX]


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