Thai 'N I BBQ review - Encino
On a Sunday road trip, I was getting a BBQ craving and was hoping to finally try Grandpa Fred's BBQ in Woodland Hills. Last time I showed up, it was on a Monday, the one day of the week that they're closed. Well, my luck wasn't getting any better, because Grandpa Fred's was closed again, only this time because their parking lot was being repaved this weekend. In fact, most of the shops next to it were closed also. 0 for 2 now. I hope to one day try their beef ribs that I've read so many good things about.
I then decided to drive down Ventura Blvd and see what other BBQ places were nearby. Stopped by El Paso BBQ, but they were closed too. Then dropped by Rosie's BBQ, but wasn't impressed by the look of the place, as it looked pretty empty. I decided to pass.
I then finally found Thai 'N I. Not traditional southern BBQ, but I've heard fantastic things about their ribs. They were indeed open, 4-9PM on Sundays. It is a tiny little restaurant with maybe about 8-10 tables for customers, with a fair number of customers ordering takeout.
Since I've been craving BBQ, I seriously thought about getting the 10-piece pork rib plate, but not being sure how big these ribs were, I decided to opt for one of the entree plates, the rib/chicken combo, with pad thai noodles and mee grob. This combo was $9.95.
Good thing I got the combo, because these BBQ pork ribs were HUGE. No way I would've finished off 10 of these. These were pork spareribs in the 9" size range, instead of small baby back ribs. They had a different flavor than traditional American BBQ, but they tasted fantastic, being quite tender, extremely tasty. I gobbled up the 5 pieces of ribs, along with 3 tasty pieces of chicken (2 drumsticks and a thigh). The pad thai was decent, while the mee grob was pretty good, being the first time I"ve ever tried it. It was probably my fault, because I spilled the mee grob sauce onto my plate, so it mixed with the pad thai.
While I was upset that Grandpa Fred's was closed, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me to try Thai 'N I, truly a gem in the Valley. I don't think we have any restaurants quite like this in OC.
Thai 'N I
17544 Ventura Blvd
I've reco'd Thai n I on here numerous times. Not only are the ribs and chicken standouts, but the family that owns the restaurant are the most wonderful people that I've had the pleasure of knowing. They all pitch in and work long hours and the food is superb. I generally order the chicken rib combo with their green salad which has the tangiest and most wonderful ginger vinaigrette dressing that I'm addicted to and the Pad Thai is also very good.
Also, being a soup addict their version of won ton soup is much different than other Thai restaurants...very garlicky and rich broth with chicken stuffed wontons that are out of this world. If you live in Encino/Tarzana you're lucky because they deliver, I'm in Sherman Oaks...no delivery for me and it's actually a good thing...I'd be ordering take-out every other day.
This is the best Thai food in the San Fernando Valley, I think the reason it is so hard to find on the boards is the way the spell the name. Right next door to Nicolosai's Italian Bakery, these are the best ribs and fantastic Tom Kai, Spicy Fried Rice and bbq chicken. CAUTION, prices have gone way up, and what I thought would be a 40.00 meal ended up over 58.00 dollars (they did not mention this on the phone) which was intentional (they have still not changed the online menu prices) . It is worth the wait (very looooong) but it is not the cheap eats place listed. That said, so delicious, take the food to go.
Whoohoo, Wonginator, a possible competitor for my Cha Cha Chicken "oldest thread revived"! This REALLY takes me back; I think Thai & I may have been in business continuously for more than 20 years. I used to eat there when I worked in the Valley the first time, and that was 1986-89!
Ah, that takes be back to when I used to live in Encino about six years ago. I think I was actually turned on to the place by another chowhound post. They have other standard Thai dishes, but the ribs, and to a lesser extent, the chicken, are the real stars. As Wonginator mentioned, large spare rib type, but almost as tender and every bit as tasty as your best baby backs. You can call ahead (I used to pick it up on my way home a few times a month), or you can stand there and watch as they cook your meat in front of a large window. Highly recommended- I was thinking recently that with this heat, I'm glad to be out of the Valley (not that I'm not still frying in OC), but this place is definitely one of the treats I miss.