Naraya Thai Fusion
Last night tried this newish spot on Robertson and was pleasantly surprised how good it was. Naraya is a small and stylishly modern space that serves up upscale Thai cuisine with interesting fusion twists. Our party had curry puffs, spinach ravioli, crab fried rice, spicy noodles with tofu, and rib-eye steak salad.
The curry puffs appetizer were crisp but not greasy, comforting with a slightly sweet filling of curry and vegetables. They almost tasted Indian but done in a lighter Thai style.
Next came the spinach raviolis. These were outstanding, supple wonton-like pouches with spinach filling in creamy sauce which tasted like a peanut cream accented with bits of fresh basil.
Rib-eye steak salad was up next and was a like a deconstructed take on yum nua. Good quality tender rib-eye strips cooked medium-rare were served on one side in a tangy dressing and dusted with crunchy toasted rice. On the other side were leaves of very fresh and crisp romaine. The combination of the flavorful steak, dressing, crunchy toasted rice and fresh romaine was a nice play of savory flavors and refreshing texture. Excellent.
Crab-fried rice was also excellent. Wonderfully fluffy and non-greasy but very flavorful with pieces of crab meat and egg. Another winner.
The spicy noodles was Naraya's version of my favorite Thai dish pad kee mao, but we substituted tofu for the seafood in it and was another hit. Expertly prepared with just the right level of heat and stir fried with plenty of basil and sweet onion.
Service was very gracious and friendly and it was a shame to see the place so empty on a Thursday night. With a Singha beer the tab was about $30 per per person including tip. Not cheap but very much worth it. A nice complimentary surprise from the chef was an artfully arranged fruit plate of sliced melon, orange, and strawberry, chocolate sauce scribble, and a dramatic wall of sugar sculpture.
There are several interesting dishes on the menu like filet mignon satay and prik king that I would love to go back and try.
1128 S Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Two of us had lunch there yesterday, 2/12. We like Thai and was curious what had moved into the old Joyce Chinese restaurant. We were very impressed. Beautiful restaurant, excellent, gracious service, upscale delicious food. Chicken was added to the ala carte stir fried vegetables and it was very good. My lunch special rib eye steak was delicious. It came with a square mound of white rice (brown if you want), baby lettuce salad, and egg roll.
At 12:30, we were the only customers, and there were 2 take-out orders. It would be sad to see this place close, so if you're in the area and enjoy Thai, go to 1128 S. Robertson Blvd. It's a little pricey, but it's a gem. I don't think they've been open very long. Let's help them build a reputation and clientele.
We tried Naraya last weekend. We liked the food, which as others have observed is unusually refined. Grilled tiger prawns in pesto were quite good, and the the several appetizers we tried were all good although the portions are rather tiny. Service was friendly but a little uncoordinated: e.g. we ordered two of the hand rolls ($4 each, served prettily in little shot glasses) and on the way out of the kitchen the server dropped one of them and there was a nice loud crash. He didn't bring the other one, and a few minutes later the waiter came and informed us they were now "out" of the handrolls--although he did bring the one unbroken one when I asked (much to PayOrPlay Jr's relief, since this is one of his favorite dishes).
As others have also commented, it's a little on the pricey side, and not just by Thai restaurant standards: our relatively light dinner for two adults and one 5-year old--2 entrees, 3 appetizers, a tiny plate of rice, no liquor, no dessert--was $90 w/tip, and we were maybe still a little hungry when we left. Business wasn't bad on Saturday evening and if they can make those price points stick, they should do well, but I wonder if they'll be able to pull this off, given the somewhat obscure location and the competition; we'll see.
I just went to naraya the other night. it was a friday night at eight, and the restaurant was 3/4 empty... a shame. the food, atmosphere, and service are all great. it ain't cheap, but it's not expensive either. they have the best green papaya salad i've had in la--not too heavy on the fish sauce! go there!
this place is easy to miss but an excellent choice (much better than natalee thai up the block). Loved the curry puffs-definitely somosa-esque and flavorful. Its been quite empty at prime dining hours-i attribute that with the location because the food and service are quite good.
My experience echoes the reviewer. There was a lot of attention to detail at Naraya, it seems like they're on top of their game no matter what you order. I ordered the fried whole catfish, which was worth the presentation alone. The pineapple rice was delicious, as was the cashew chicken (spicy) , duck salad, and the tom yum soup.