Where to Dine in Thai Town
- Matt S.
I am getting ready for my first adventure to Thai Town and looking for good places for dinner on a Saturday Night. I heard Jonathan Gold describe a place on Good Food that is a restaurant and club with music. I don't remember the name. Does anyone know what place he was talking about and/or other places?
The place with music is most likely the Palms at Hollywood and Hobart, where they have a Thai Elvis impersonator and feature wild game (boar, frogs, etc.) Regular food is good too and they take credit cards and serve beer.
I am partial to Ruen Pair across the parking lot from Palms, no beer but you can bring your own, no credit cards, no Elvis, just great spicy unusual food.
I know it's not really foodie-land but I still love Torung at Hollywood and Wilton where I've been going about 20 years, cheap, homey, tasty.
The one time I went to Ruen Pair, I was disappointed. I ordered the morning glory... when it came out, I was shocked to see it was the same thing my mom had been cooking for me since before I can remember. While it was quite good, it just didn't compare to my mom's take on morning glory. I ordered bbq pork on rice and again it wasn't that great. Am I just ordering the wrong things here? What do you guys recommend?
In addition to those mentioned, Gold might have been talking about Kruang Tedd on Sunset, next to the infamous Jumbo's Clown Room. Search this site for various views on the restaurant and its fare.
(warning, kind of long and rambling.)
Having been in your shoes very recently, here's my perspective:
1. First we tried Kraung Tedd. Really liked it, but the decor is pretty trendy (at least for thai town). Half the things we ordered were amazing, the other half were boring. Dunno, maybe some of the stuff we ordered wasn't really our specialty. When we asked about their specialties, they suggested Pad Thai. Yummy, but not what I would trek to thai town for.
2. Second, we tried Sanamluang. Here, we just struck out all around. Even though we ordered like 6 things, not one food orgasm among the bunch. Again, must have gotten the wrong things, since everybody else seems to love it. When we asked what their specialties were, they recommended pad thai. This one's a fast food noodle joint - expect that. And don't order a dish with various fish and something spelled kinda like "Yelunchida" (or something kinda like that.) It's scary pink soup with a reqlly wierd candy-like taste. (Anybody know what the Y stuff is? Saw it at the thai grocery store the other day, looked like pink crayola playdough in the bottle.)
3. Last weekend, went to Palms. Went for lunch, so we missed Elvis, but the food was fantastic. We just got the Wild Boar in Red Curry, and I still melt thinking about it. The morningglories were perfect as well. We also made a 15 mile detour to pick up takeout from there the next day (having been so enthralled by teh wild boar), with mixed results. BBQ Squid is to die for. Fantastic, comes with an amazing sweet sauce, and a very spicy very sour sauce. Green Curry vegetables was great too - not overloaded with eggplant like most places, just the right flavor. Spicy Soup (with seafood: shrimp, fishballs, and squid) was really good, but too spicy for me - my BF ate it and liked it though. Finally, we got whole steamed fish in lime. This was trout, we think, which isn't our favorite fish, and it wasn't up to the flavor standard we thought it should have. Then again, we had so many to-go containers, maybe we dumped the wrong sauce over the fish! ;) This place has a light, airy, not-very-thai ambiance. We really liked the place. Oh. And, when we asked what the specialties were, they said Pad Thai. See a pattern here?
Anyway, my overall recommendation is go to whichever one suits your taste, but definitely cruise the board and pick up specific dish recommendations. When I have gone armed with those, I've done well.
Secondly, if you live anywhere near it, skip Thai Town altogether and go to Renu Nakorn in Norwalk, much praised on this board.