Sapp Coffee Shop vs Yai Restaurant - Boat Noodles
So, I finally made the trip to Sapp for their highly touted boat noodles. I must say with all the hype, I was expecting a lot. This being said, if their was no hype, my opinion that they were off the mark would be the same. The soup was cloudy, muddled, and without focus. It seemed as if they just threw every thai powder spice known to man in there and did not stir it up very well. The meat was chewy (I had the beef at the waitresses recommendation) to the point of spitting some out rather than swallowing whole. Though there maybe be some chowhoundish dignity in choking to death at a restaurant because nobody can understand your cries for help, that day was not to be the day. The noodles themselves were fine, but no wow factor involved.
The next week I was back in the same area and happened upon Yai Restaurant (5757 Hollywood Bl, just west of Wilton, tucked away in a strip center). I figured I would try boat noodle soup again just to make sure I did not have a dislike for the dish in general. The boat noodle soup is not even in the soup section of the menu, but rather in the noodle section. It comes with beef, tripe, liver, and meat balls (all for $5.50). The soup was focused, slightly spicey and very good. The meat was all excellent with the different meats adding dimension to the soup; I especially liked the meat balls. The noodles were solid. All in all, a great soup that I will add to my list of regular eats for Thai Town.
Did I hit Sapp on a bad day? Unless someone does some heavy convincing, it's Yai for me.
The default version of the boat noodle soup at Sapp Coffee Shop includes all the meats that you mention you had at Yai. Their dark broth is complex and tasty. The waitresses frequently rec the beef version to non-Thai customers who frequently are grossed out by offal. Hey, they learn from experience. I really like Sapp's version, had it lots of places but alas not at Yai. Other dishes that I've had at Yai were very good. Both places are on my Thai Town rotation!
Thanks for the Report! I personally adore Sapps noodles. I wouldn't call them muddled though, but DEEP, it's spicy in all angles and yet rich in flavor. I've tried many others, and either the spicing was weak or the spicing was off (Too much Anis is a frequent offense. However I have yet to try Yai... they are now on the list!! :)