Mix Zone Cafe

It was the eggplant that blew me away at Mix Zone Cafe, and, well, who knew?

I love the old-familiar Thai dishes like Pad Thai and Tom Kha — the noodles that are practically the national dish of Thailand and the lemongrass-and-chili-infused coconut-based soup, respectively. And I love neighborhood Thai restaurants that are as familiar and comfortable as an old shoe, where I can hunker down and find comfort in a plate of noodles and a bowl of spicy soup.

But the crispy eggplant ($6.50) at Mix Zone piqued my interest. Would this be bar food — eggplant cut into sticks and deep-fried? Or soggy slices sauteed in a skillet? Of course not, because those wouldn’t have blown me away. Instead, it was thinnish skin-on slices of little Japanese eggplants, coated in a tempuralike batter that puffed when cooked. With a plum dipping sauce on the side (almost a duck sauce), the slices brought to the table a mix of crispy (the coating) and yielding (the eggplant) textures and earthy (the eggplant), neutral (the coating) and sweet-and-sour (the sauce) flavors.

So I would’ve been pretty happy with Mix Zone Cafe right there, but there were more good things awaiting us. Mint-chicken pot stickers ($6.50) had just a spark of sprightly flavor wrapped up into dumplings that had been pan-fried gently so that they were crisp in some spots, not in others.

While innovation is all well and good, it had been a long time since I’d luxuriated in a Panang curry ($8.95), so I figured I was due. At Mix Zone, there’s a tofu option as well as the requisite beef, chicken, pork and shrimp (the latter $2 extra), and I was due for some of that as well. I wasn’t disappointed; the tofu had been cut into slices that were gently crisped so that they were just a little puffy. They rested in a bath of creamy, coconutty curry rife with slices of crisp carrots and red and green bell pepper.

And here’s what a lot of Thai restaurants do wrong: They don’t cook the chunks of meat (or tofu, in this case) in the sauce, but add it when you order, which means the chunks end up tasting like their plain old selves instead of taking on the complex flavors of the sauce, causing a rather odd dichotomy of flavor. That wasn’t the case here. The tofu in this dish was flavored through and through.

We also tried the Ga Pow ($7.95), minced pork (or beef if they had had it or chicken; shrimp was $2 extra) stir-fried in a homemade chili sauce with peppers and onion and mint. This one was less liquid than the Panang, but both worked very nicely spooned over the piles of long-grain rice we were served.

Like most Thai restaurants, Mix Zone offers a range of heat levels, which tend to be awfully dicey, because one man’s 1 is another man’s 10. We went with a 1 and 2, though, and found the 1 suitably mild, the 2 just spicy enough.

Service throughout was very good. Our waitress had blue hair and multiple piercings, so be forewarned if that sort of thing offends your delicate sensibilities, but note that she was much better than many of the servers we encounter these days.

The cafe itself is tiny, but pleasant, thanks to the bright colors and accents such as a double-barreled fountain near the front door. The music is gentle, the pace just quick enough without being rushed. Note that there’s no alcohol service, though our waitress pointed out that there was a 7-Eleven nearby so we could make a run if we thought they stocked our favorite wine. We didn’t.

They were out of fried bananas, too, so we had to pass on a dessert of fried bananas and sticky rice, but we feel sure the eggplant will be calling our names very soon.

And at these prices, we can even afford it.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at 383-0474 or e-mail her at hrinella@reviewjournal.com.

5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like