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Oct 28, 2006 05:03 AM

Red Pearl Kitchen on Melrose

Most of the food in this place is at least above average. Service and the staff have a long way to go. Lots of people tripping over themselves, tentative, confused and disorganized, though the manager seems great, always wandering around checking on everyone.

We started with a bunch of small plates. Asked not to have more than two come at one. All came at once. Then, we shared Meyer's Lemon Chicken with shrimp, bacon & garlic friend rice, which we wanted together. A different person always brought the food than our waitres; he came with the chicken and asked, gee, didn't we want some rice with that. Repeated our order for the fried rice and pick at the chicken for 5, 10 minutes...still no rice. Finally, the friendly roving manager came by, dashed to the kitchen and came back with the rice.

The Kobe pineapple satay is some of the best beef I have ever had in my life--an amazing dish. Crab/pork spring rolls--ordinary at best. Chicken potstickers--wow!! Har gow (shrimp dumplings on the menu) very good. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus--also wow!

Warning: although mild by Thai standards, most of the dishes here are hot by my taste.

Cocktails, as noted earlier, all seem to be $11.

The place is dark and the menus are covered by orange plexiglass, a combination that makes them very hard to read.

The music is LOUD.

Bottom line: mostly above average, faily spicy Asian food in a noisy, dark room with lots of servers but poor service--they just haven't seemed to find their rhythm yet. Bill for two with two glasses of wine and no dessert: $90 with tax and tip.

If you go, whatever else you do, get the Pineapple Kobe Beef Satay Skewer ($9).

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  1. I know this is a Melrose Ave "event" place, but when we have ThaiTown and the SGV, why in all that is houndly would I want to subject myself to this?

    2 Replies
      1. re: SwissMiss

        Lots of Thai restaurants in Thai Town have gone through a period of ownership and chefs changes. I have watched the quality of food deviates from the good old days. Surprisingly the new managements manage to keep the service at the same level of next to none. Many good chefs from Thai Town now work for better salary and more respect in these new restaurants. Same goes with many restaurants in SGV.

      2. Well, you shouldn't go there if your main criteria is cheap food or authentic food or all the other justifiable houndly criteria. But sometimes people, even Chowhounds in fact, need a convenient, stylish spot to meet friends for a nice cocktail and a plate of satay. In that case it might fill the bill. People come to this board looking for all types of experiences, and value and authenticity are not the only ones.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chowpatty

          If an illegible menu and deafening music are "convenient and stylish", then I'll stick with out-of-the-way and boring, thanks all the same.

        2. Well said (er, written), Chowpatty!

          1. Place was pretty good - prices were right, 85% of dishes were tasty and the service was actually decent

            I would return

            1. certainly can't find Red Pearl Kitchen's
              fitting dessert finale: Kafir Lime Tapioca
              elsewhere, so very tasty.
              Corkage is reasonable too.