I've given Subo two tries now and I'm not sure I can be coerced to "experience" it again. I'm not gonna lie; not having cranberry juice behind the bar was strike one. Our bartender was quick to please with a Stoli-kalamansi-pomegranate-soda concoction in its place, but it still wasn't the bar staple that I wanted. The mango martini is one of the strongest martinis I've had locally, which stands to reason since the only mango flavor in the drink was coming from Absolut Mango. As in I didn't taste anything else. I like a stiff one as much as the next girl -- hey-ohhh! -- but when I order a fruity cocktail I wouldn't mind a little actual fruit, or at least a nice splash of fruit juice. Anything served up in a martini glass gets called a martini these days, so it's not unreasonable to expect more than straight booze shaken and strained.
The adobo greens beans were full of onion, chili and soy sauce flavor but I couldn't detect any of the promised madras curry or sesame oil. Also, onions nearly outnumbered beans in the bowl. The menu neglected to mention the steamed edamame would be dripping with butter, but that's how it came out. I still can't decide whether I loved it or hated it. On the one hand, the pods were so soft they nearly disintegrated in your mouth; but that also means they were soggy, void of that gratifying, nearly crisp texture. The steamed mushroom rolls were a big swing and a miss, starting with their puzzlingly heavy sweetness. Using a duxelles is an excellent concept here, but the filling's texture is ruined by the tough tofu sheet wrapper; difficult to bite through and impossible to cut with a fork, not to mention messy.
The best thing on the table was the plate of little green papaya salad rolls: strips of unripe papaya, bean sprouts and pea shoots rolled up in delicate rice paper and drizzled with light but spicy Sriracha vinaigrette. Great crunch, and I like the smaller, bite-size pieces. There were a couple of seafood plates on the other end of the table, but one of my dining companions doesn't eat pork so I imagine he was a little discouraged by all the swine on the menu, even in the fish dishes.
Dessert didn't happen, but I suppose I could go back and give that section of the menu a chance. Price points are commensurate to the neighborhood (on 12th, in the former Hell's Kitchen space) but not to the food portions. The menu says small plates and they aren't kidding; while they're a little heftier than two-bite tapas, these are still little servings. I left craving King & I Thai just a few blocks away, with their overflowing plates of yummy, comforting combinations that are truly meant for sharing.