Cuisine Style Express

By on 21 October, 2015 in Food, Kate and Stephen with 1 Comment

It’s pretty much a straight shot from our house to the office, down near the Statehouse by way of Norman Bridge (which becomes Union as it diverges before the freeway). Sometimes we drive this stretch four times a day. So we thought we were pretty familiar with the take-out food options in the area (Derk’s justly famous hot bar, JoZettie’s for cupcakes, a quick detour over to Tomatino’s if a pizza is calling your name). It took a recommendation from a close friend to turn us on to Cuisine Style Express, over across from ASU in a shopping center that also houses a laundry, a cell phone store and a payday lending shop. There wasn’t anything vegetarian on the menu we saw (aside from a papaya salad that’s delicious and can be made without shrimp paste), but our friend (something of a food expert) assured us that Cuisine Style Express would make any of their dishes without meat upon request.

Sold. We took a work colleague with us to lunch one mid-week day right around 11:00. Many of the small tables were already full, and although we couldn’t see the kitchen from behind the counter, you could smell and hear furious action in there. The menu is Laotian, with a smattering of what folks around here might recognize as Thai. When we were there, there was one very helpful person behind the counter and, it seemed like, one person in the back working feverishly to make the dishes individually to order. They came out dish by dish, as they might in a home kitchen.

Prices were extremely reasonable for the volume. We got the Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles) with tofu for $8.95, and the Pad See Ew (with tofu also) for the same price. Our friend got a gigantic portion of chicken fried rice for a super reasonable price. All the entrees came with a great egg roll served in a small paper bag, which helped to absorb any excess oil or grease. When the food arrived, it was super piping hot in packed-to-the-rafters styrofoam containers. Again, being brought out one at a time does ensure that your food is hot and fresh. But it also sparks those sometimes awkward “no, you go ahead and eat” conversations. Portions are gigantic. Honestly, y’all, one feeds three.

Most importantly, it’s delicious. It tastes fresh, with none of that fake frozen veggie mix that plagues so many of our city’s other similar establishments. We also get the feeling that they’ll make it as spicy as you want. Next time, we’ll go well above medium, because that’s how we roll. We do wish they had actual plates and silverware, because eating out of styrofoam clamshells is never an attractive way to dine. But the food is truly top notch and challenges the very best of our city’s comparable restaurants. In fact, if given the choice, we’d choose Cuisine Style Express over Lek’s or Green Papaya any time. The only suggestion we have is to call in advance. If it’s going to be made to order, it takes a few minutes.

Midtown, we’re very lucky to have this place. Let’s circle the wagons to keep it in business. We need more fast food to go that’s tasty and good. Cuisine Style Express puts other local places like China Sea to shame. We need to hold on to this local gem.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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  1. Kurt says:

    I agree that Cuisine Style Express is a gem that we need. Wonderful Thai and Lao food all around. I have this fantasy that all the fast food restaurants in town close and hundreds of mom and pop restaurants open in their place — restaurants that serve real food, that care about their customers, their employees, and the environment. We need CSE and others like it badly.

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